Green Saviree talking to @CTMPOfficial about hosting @hondaIndy in 2015

Green Savoree Racing Promotions and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park management put out a joint release today confirming they have discussed the option of a Verizon IndyCar Series date at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2015.

A Verizon IndyCar track inspector has completed a full track inspection at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and has provided recommendations.

“Understandably, the Toronto 2015 Pan Am & Parapan American Games have forced us to consider alternative dates and venues for next year’s race. We have worked tirelessly to explore all options and are close to making an announcement regarding when and where we’ll be racing in 2015,” said Charlie Johnstone, president, Honda Indy Toronto.

“Kim Green and Kevin Savoree are friends within the motorsports industry and we will do whatever we can to help maintain an IndyCar date in 2015 here in Canada, given the challenges of the 2015 Pan-Am Games,” said Myles Brandt, president and general manager at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“We’d be happy to help.”

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So all is now well with @nico_rosberg, @lewishamilton, @mercedesamgf1

The Mercedes F1 team released a statement this morning saying that team bosses Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, and drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton met at the outfit’s headquarters in Brackley to discuss the events of the Belgian Grand Prix.

As fans might recall, Rosberg clipped Hamilton’s left rear tire in an incident on the second lap, which broke the former’s front wing and gave the letter a flat. Rosberg went on to finish second while Hamilton retired. Rosberg is now 29 points ahead in the points.

The statement said:

“During this meeting, Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on Lap 2 of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologised for this error of judgement.

Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident.

Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula One.

Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team’s number one rule: there must be no contact between the team’s cars on track.

It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.

They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship.”

So, Bernie’s back and looking for blood? #F1

With his bribery case gone away after a $100-milion payment to the
coffers of Germany, Bernie Ecclestone has returned to the
helm of F1’s commercial arm, FOM.

And those who revelled in his legal woes might want to beware.

A report in the Independent newspaper quoted the 83-year-old F1
ringmaster as saying that he’s “in a position where I have got a little bit more time and I shall follow my old idea in life, ‘don’t get mad, get even’. I haven’t got mad but I’m going to get even.”

Maybe it’s just bluster from the sport’s de facto dictator but if there’s any truth here, it would be difficult to think of anything the sport needs less than Mr. E looking to get even with those who he feels were on the wrong side of his recent court battles.

The challenges facing F1 today are huge and bluntly speaking there are
many more important places where Mr. E should be focussing his concern, and a personal vendetta is not one of them.

It’s controlled by an investment firm that doesn’t care about racing and is only interested in Return on Investment so it’s sucking all the
money out of the sport, F1’s television audience is falling, grandstand seats are going empty, the grid if filled with drivers whose main qualification is the size of their wallets, several teams are on life support, and it is headed to a controversial race in Russia as that country continues to meddle in Ukraine.

All that aside, the biggest question surrounding F1 and its leadership
these days should be thinking about succession planning. Any solid company has such a plan because you need to ensure that everything runs smoothly just in case something untoward happens. For example, if there are bribery charge pending against your leader and there’s a possibility that he/she could end up in jail.

Most reasonable corporations start thinking about this many years before there’s any need for a switch at the top, but even with its octogenarian leader obviously having significantly fewer days ahead than behind, it appears on the surface at least that F1 hasn’t even considered who would step into the commercial role when Mr. E goes.

Good analysis of @nico_rosberg @LewisHamilton Spa accident #F1

There have been many opinions about the Lewis Hamilton-Nico Rosberg incident at Spa on Sunday, most of them going against the German.

To recap, on Lap 2 of the Belgian Grand Prix, Rosberg clipped teammate Hamilton’s left rear tire and cause a flat while also breaking his front wing. Rosberg later told the team that he stood his ground to prove a point.

While Rosberg recovered from a broken front wing to finish second Hamilton retired with a few laps to go. Rosberg now has a 29-point lead on Hamilton in the championship standings.

In my opinion, David Coulthard does the best job of telling the whole story of the internal team politics of the situation.

There is also really good analysis from Mark Hughes on why what Rosberg did was just hard racing.

On the other hand, Jenson Button is highly critical of Rosberg, saying that if the German saw it on TV, he “would look at it, and say, ‘What was I thinking?’”

Hamiln gives #NASCAR opportunity to test its new “Kevin Ward Jr.” safety rule

Tuesday is normally the day that NASCAR hands out fines for rule violations that occurred on the previous race weekend.
 
This is particularly interesting this week after Denny Hamiln walked to the edge of the track at the Bristol Motor Speedway and threw his HANS device at the car of Kevin Harvick to show his displeasure following a wreck on Lap 161 of Saturday’s Irwin Tools Sprint Cup race.
 
Now, it would be reasonable to assume that the safety crew did not approve Hamlin tossing his HANS device at another car, so that should mean NASCAR should be handing out some sort of penalty tomorrow in the first test of its new rule instituted in the wake of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr.’s death in an Aug. 9 race.
 
The newly adopted rule instructs drivers to stay in their car until the safety crew arrives and then proceed to an emergency vehicle or as otherwise directed by the safety crew.
 
The on-track incident happened Harvick nudged leader Hamlin as the pair got to the front straight, with the contact sending the No. 11 car into the inside wall before it went back up the track and hit innocent bystander Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Turn 1.
 
After getting out of his car, Hamlin then waited for Harvick to come back around before walking to the edge of the track and throwing his HANS device at the No. 4.
 
Let’s hope NASCAR makes the right decision here and sends a message to all drivers that this kind of behaviour is dangerous and will not be tolerated.
 
As NASCAR vice president of competition and racing development, Robin Pemberton, said when he announced the rule two weeks ago at the Michigan International Speedway, it’s “safety first” now. 
 
“Through time you have to recognize, when you get a reminder or tap on the shoulder, something that may need to be addressed. This is one of those times where we look outside our sport and we look at other things, and we feel like it was time to address this.”
 
 

Journalists need to keep Hamilton-Rosberg clash in perspective

I often find it amazing how reporters simply don’t listen. Or maybe I
should say it’s a problem that they only hear what they want to hear
sometimes.

Although some see it as something associated with the Internet Age where websites try to outdo each other to attract readers and therefore ratchet up stories to get attention, “mainstream media” also seem to get caught up in the sensational wave.

This happened after the controversial collision between Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on the second lap of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix when many stories appeared that screamed that the former hit the latter deliberately.

This suggestion came from a quote from Hamilton who told reporters in Spa that “we just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on
purpose.”

That quote had website after website, including several UK newspapers running headlines and stories saying
that Rosberg admitted guilt and intentionally caused the accident.

The truth is that Hamilton was playing politics with the meeting and
sensationalising the words of his teammate, who it seems essentially
said that he didn’t give ground to prove a point.

There’s a huge difference between standing your ground and purposely
crashing into another driver.

And reporters should have pointed that out.

Many didn’t and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff needed to speak out to ensure the situation didn’t continue to be overblown.

He defended Rosberg after Hamilton’s comments, saying it was basically baloney to think the accident was deliberate.

“Nico felt he needed to hold his line. He needed to make a point, and for Lewis, it was clearly not him who needed to be aware of Nico. [Rosberg] didn’t give in. He thought it was for Lewis to leave him space, and that Lewis didn’t leave him space,” Wolff said Sunday.

“So they agreed to disagree in a very heated discussion amongst
ourselves, but it wasn’t deliberately crashing. That is nonsense.”

Official: @CameronNHayley to race in #NASCAR trucks @CTMPOfficial

Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) has announced that Calgary’s Cameron Hayley will compete in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races this season in the No. 32 Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet Silverado, including Labour Day weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Hayley races full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) for TSM. He has one pole, six top-five finishes and is second overall in points.

In 2011, Hayley became the youngest driver to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

Hayley was identified by NASCAR as one of the sports rising stars when he was named as one of its NASCAR Next members.

“I’m really excited to make my NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut,” he said.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to run in one of NASCAR’s top-three series, and I can’t believe I’m finally getting the chance to live that dream.

In addition to CTMP, Hayley will also race Sept. 20 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Oct. 31 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Toro Rosso drivers announced.

Toro Rosso has announced that Red Bull Junior Team member Max Verstappen will replace Jean-Eric Vergne in 2015. His teammate will be Daniil Kvyat.

After becoming karting world champion, 16-year-old Max made a smooth transition to the highly competitive FIA Formula 3 European Championship, proving his ability by winning 8 of the 27 races held to date, which puts him in contention to take the title.

Said Max Verstappen:

“First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Helmut Marko and Red Bull for all their trust and giving me the chance to make my Formula debut in 2015 with Scuderia Toro Rosso. Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.”

“There are several people that have helped me throughout the years and still support me to this day and I want to sincerely thank them. First of all a big thanks to my father Jos, who has always been by my side, day and night, year after year. Of course I’m very thankful for all my sponsors who’ve believed in my talent and supported me in these financially difficult times. I hope that I can maintain a wonderful collaboration with them as I embark on this exciting new phase in my career. I also want to thank my manager Raymond Vermeulen, for all his efforts in making this agreement possible. Finally, thanks to all the teams in the various karting and single-seater categories for their vital help and support. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

“We’ve all worked tremendously hard to reach Formula 1 and I will give my absolute best to be successful in the pinnacle of motorsport. With the return of the Verstappen name to Formula 1, I hope we can relive old memories and I’m hoping to see many fans at all the Grand Prix circuits.”

Said Franz Tost: “We are happy to welcome Max into the Toro Rosso family. It’s great to see how the Red Bull Junior Programme continues to find talented young drivers and gives them the opportunity to come into Formula 1. We consider Max to be as one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully. This year he has already demonstrated how well he can cope under difficult conditions. For example, at the Norisring and Nürburgring, he showed extraordinary determination and the ability to withstand pressure before going on to win. Bearing in mind that Scuderia Toro Rosso was created with the aim of bringing young talent from the Red Bull Junior Team into Formula 1 and to educate them, it will now be up to us to provide Max with a competitive car, which will enable him to have the best possible start to his Formula 1 career.”

“With this in mind, I would also like to thank Jean-Eric Vergne for all his hard work. He has produced strong performances, but unfortunately he was also hindered by some reliability problems, especially in the first half of the current season. We hope that we have resolved these problems and that he will be able to end the second half of this season on a high note and thereby show that he still deserves another opportunity in Formula 1.”

This week’s @globedrive column

My column in Globe Drive this week mainly covers the new NASCAR rule that prohibits the behaviour that got Kevin Ward Je. Killed.

Obviously the “no hot track” rule comes too late for Ward but it seems that NASCAR’s hands were tied.

Had the series not acted, it would have been see as callous or worse reckless had another driver died under similar circumstances.

Also in this weeks’s offering, I look at Alex Tagliani’s excellent team effort at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, Bruno Spengler hitting the century mark in DTM, how a new rule in DTM vindicated Robert Wickens, and finally I suggest that Ferrari’s Alonso is easily the top driver in Formula One so far.

Read it here