Sunday, February 8, 2015

Brasilia government forced IndyCar race cancellation in money worry

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117528

(by Mark Glendenning autosport.com 1-31-15)

IndyCar's scheduled 2015 season-opener at the Brasilia circuit was cancelled due to government concerns about wasting public funds.

According to the Associated Press, public prosecutors warned that the event was "not in the best interests of society" and there was a "clear inversion in the priorities for public spending".

The prosecutors also reportedly identified problems in the contracts that the promoters negotiated with the previous administration, which they claim would have required spending more than $100 million on track upgrades alone for the Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet.

The cancellation of the IndyCar race comes at a time when Brasilia is gripped by a severe financial crisis.

A MotoGP race originally scheduled for 2014 was cancelled, and vast amounts of public money were spent on upgrading the Estadio Nacional for last year's football World Cup.

"While all efforts are under way to organise an event not essential to the society of the federal district, public employees are not getting paid," public prosecutors said.

The cancellation on Thursday of what would have been IndyCar's first visit to the venue came as a surprise: two-thirds of the tickets for the race had been sold, and a title sponsor for the race had been announced just one day earlier.

That same day, Tony Cotman, whose company NZR Consulting was in charge of the track upgrade, tweeted images of construction work being carried out at Turn 11.

IndyCar said in a statement that both the series and the paddock are "economically protected" from the cancellation.

There is understood to be a $27 million fine for breach of contract, which the Brasilia government says only applies to the contract between IndyCar and promoter BAND TV.

BAND was also the promoter of the Sao Paulo street race, which ran between 2010 and '13.

Brasilia IndyCar race that would have opened 2015 season cancelled

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117507

(by Mark Glendenning autosport.com 1-30-15)

IndyCar's planned 2015 season-opener at Brasilia in Brazil has been cancelled.

The series confirmed the cancellation late on Thursday, although no reason was given.

"[Event promoter] BAND announced today that the race scheduled for March 8 in Brasilia has been cancelled," read a statement from IndyCar.

"This comes as a great disappointment, and we will have further comment when we have had the opportunity to talk with all of our partners and the authorities in Brazil."

The event would have been IndyCar's first at the Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet, and was set to represent a return to Brazil after the Sao Paulo street race fell off the calendar in 2013.

It is the second new IndyCar fly-away to have been cancelled at the 11th hour in recent years, following on from the abandoned race in Qingdao in China that was slated for 2012.

Brasilia's absence means that St Petersburg will reclaim its status as IndyCar's season-opener when it hosts the series on the last weekend in March.

That race will also mark the debut of the manufacturer-designed aero kits.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Formula 1's pay driver situation 'out of control' reckons Adrian Sutil


(by Ben Anderson and Matt Beer autosport.com 12-21-14)

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117207

Financial demands that some Formula 1 teams are asking from drivers are 'out of control', claims ousted Sauber racer Adrian Sutil.

Sauber has opted to replace Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for 2015 - with both the team's new drivers arriving with generous sponsorship backing.

Asked if he felt budgets were becoming more important than talent, Sutil said that while pay drivers had always been a factor in F1 he felt the current situation was now extreme.

"The budgets some drivers are paying for a year are out of control," he told AUTOSPORT.

"This is not the way it should be.

"It has always been a problem, and it's always more or less been like this.

"There were small teams 20 or 30 years ago where you could buy yourself a cockpit. Now there are less of them and maybe it's more obvious.

"This is something that may never change in Formula 1, but we can make it a little more balanced.

"I remember when Minardi or Arrows were in Formula 1 and were still more or less profitable. And there were maybe a few drivers with sponsorship, but this was not the priority.

"It would be good to have this [situation] back, and then maybe you could call it a sport again.
"Right now, it's hard to say what it is."

While teams under financial pressure have criticised F1's revenue distribution and the costs of the 2014 rules package, Sutil said they had to share responsibility for their economic fortunes.

"First of all I think a few teams maybe have to do their job a little bit better to make things profitable," he said.

"Or on the other side, maybe there's something wrong in the system.

"I don't know the internal details, but there are some teams that manage to be in Formula 1 and make it profitable. It's not a problem, they have sponsors, and they can live with it. Some don't have and they are struggling a lot.
"I'm just a driver, so I don't really know why it's so out of balance. But it shouldn't be like this because it's still a big sport."

Friday, May 9, 2014

This is what American Open-wheel racing has become


5 guys from Indianer just kind of sitting around watching the grass grow.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Injuries in the stands at Daytona Nationwide Race



















(cnn.com 2-23-13)

Debris flew into the stands, injuring a number of spectators -- at least two of them critically -- during a jaw-dropping crash Saturday in the final turn of a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway.

The multicar crash occurred near the end of the Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300 race at the same Florida track where Sunday's Daytona 500 will be held.

The race had recently restarted after another wreck, after which driver Michael Annett was hospitalized for bruising to his chest, according to Richard Petty Motorsports.

Several closely-packed cars were jostling for position at top speed when they got tangled up, setting off a dangerous chain reaction that ensnared a number of vehicles.

Reigning Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski -- who later told CNN he and others were simply "going for the win" -- was among those involved, while Tony Stewart somehow emerged unscathed and finished by winning the race.

Driver Kyle Larson's vehicle ended up flying into a fence that separates the track from spectators. It broke into pieces -- including tires and a fiery engine.

Larson walked away from the crash, even after the front part of his No. 32 car was completely gone. He and the other nine drivers involved told reporters that they were checked at a medical tent on the Daytona infield and released.

Some of the shredded debris flew into the barrier, while others got into the stands -- some of it reaching the second level about 20 feet up.

A video posted on YouTube shows a cloud of debris flying into stands and one man gasping, "Oh, my God." A tire rests on one seat, as a man frantically waves and yells to get the attention of paramedics.

Afterward, several spectators could be seen lying down after apparently suffering injuries. A line of about 10 ambulances lined up on the track, with some first responders carrying stretchers.

Fourteen fans were treated at an on-site medical facility, while 14 others were transported to area hospitals, speedway president Joie Chitwood told reporters.

"I'm just hoping everyone is OK," said Keselowski. "As drivers, we assume the risk. But fans do not."

NASCAR president Mike Helton earlier told ESPN, which was broadcasting the race, some people were taken to Halifax Health Medical Center. He said the protective fence did its job in preventing potentially more injuries and possibly deaths.

Byron Cogdell, a spokesman for the hospital, told CNN that his facility was treating 12 patients. Two of those -- one of them a child -- are in critical but stable condition.

"Everybody appears to be in stable condition," Cogdell said.

Staff at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center were treating one person and expecting three more, spokeswoman Lindsay Rew said Saturday evening.

The injured include Eddie Huckaby, a 53-year-old Krum, Texas, resident who suffered a leg gash when a large piece of metal hit him as he was watching the race, his brother Terry Huckaby told CNN affiliate WKMG. He described the motor landing in the stands, as well as a wheel "and everything flying over your head and debris everywhere."

"He's doing fine," Terry Huckaby said of his brother, who underwent surgery at Halifax Health Medical Center. "The first thing he said, 'I don't want to miss that (Daytona 500) race, but I have to watch on TV.'"

Accidents are nothing new to NASCAR, where cars often cruise at speeds topping 190 mph, nor to the Daytona track. One of the sport's most horrific, and well-known, wrecks happened in the 2001 Daytona 500, when famed driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed -- also, on that race's final lap.

Still, injuries and fatalities to spectators are much rarer.

With the stands having been quickly evacuated, crews worked to repair the damaged fence. Chitwood expressed confidence the 55th edition of the Daytona 500 would go on as planned, with spectators even sitting in the same seats struck by debris Saturday.

"With the fence being prepared tonight to our safety protocols, we expect to go racing tomorrow with no changes," Chitwood said.