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Alonso in talks with Andretti about Indy 500 (7th Update)
If Honda says yes, Alonso will leave McLaren and drive for Andretti in 500
UPDATE Zak Brown has confirmed that Fernando Alonso is not under contract with McLaren past this year, so he is free to race for Andretti, Carpenter, Ganassi or Penske at the Indy 500 - all teams that can deliver an Indy 500 win.
11/08/19 “We’ve talked about it and I’d love to have him drive for us again. But a lot of things would have to happen,” Michael Andretti told Racer.
“He has to decide what he wants to do and he could still end up with McLaren; but there’s other stuff,” Andretti added. “It’s a possibility, but not a good possibility.”
“I’d love to get back together and try to get him his first win at Indy,” said Andretti. “We’ve talked about it many times -- and also about him driving other things for us -- but right now its just talk.”
Land Controlled by IMS. Our estimates now put the deal at around $1 billion
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today as we expected the report of $300M was way wide of the mark. IMS and Hulman-subsidiary Georgetown Realty Co. Inc. control about 37% of all the land in Speedway, making Hulman the 4.8-square-mile town’s single-largest landowner.
All that land will be turned over to Penske when the deal closes, bringing with it responsibility for about $2.7 million in annual property taxes.
Valued at $97 million for tax break purposes, the acreage accounts for about 16% of Speedway’s assessed property value of $608 million according to IBJcom.
If the assessed property value is $608 million, adding in the IndyCar series, the value of the historic Indy 500 race, the IMS Museum, and IMS productions, the deal had to be just south of $1 billion.
Packed grandstands. Since Jim France has taken over the reins of NASCAR, the series has been on the rise
UPDATE Estimated total attendance at ISM was "more than 50,000."
All 42,000 grandstand seats sold out, with "several thousand more combined in the Infield suites and a record number of campers." ARIZONA REPUBLIC
11/08/19 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. ISM Raceway has announced a sellout crowd for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500, the second time in a row it has done so after its $178M renovation. The track sold out its roughly 45,000 seats comprising the Allison grandstand that was built as part of the renovation of the venue that wrapped up last year.
UPDATE (GMM) Renault has played down rumors it might quit Formula 1.
Last week, reports suggested that amid on and off-track scandals, poor results and the loss of engine customers Red Bull and McLaren, new Renault CEO Clotilde Delbos might be poised to pull the carmaker out of F1.
But a Renault spokesperson told f1only.fr that the rumors were put out there to "destabilize" the team.
Mercedes to slash costs, will F1 program feel pinch?
How much longer can Toto afford Lewis Hamilton?
As it grapples with recalls, costly fines over illegal diesel engine software and a slowing global market due to stiff competition from EV car maker Tesla, Daimler is embarking on an austerity program that, if implemented, will see it cut 10 per cent of its management jobs (1,100 positions) and freeze its 300,000 workers’ paychecks in Germany. Will is also hit their huge F1 budget?
That’s according to German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, Mercedes-Benz‘s parent company, who cites an email sent to staff by the group’s works council. The news was confirmed by Handelsblatt and German news agency DPA.
Hamilton 'thinking about' Ferrari move - Villeneuve
There is zero chance Hamilton goes to Ferrari. He is playing Mercedes like a fiddle to extract more money in his contract renegotiation's, which have begun.
(GMM) 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks Lewis Hamilton is contemplating a move to Ferrari.
Six time world champion Hamilton's Mercedes contract expires next year, and Toto Wolff said recently it is "natural" that the Briton is attracted to Ferrari because it's the "most important brand" in F1.
"Lewis is chasing all the records and he has a good chance of getting most of them," Villeneuve told Sky Italia.
"Going to Ferrari would be the culmination of all of it and I suspect he is thinking about it."
IndyCar could be racing with Supercars in Sydney as soon as 2021 (2nd Update)
Route to track from downtown Sydney
UPDATE Old news for AR1.com readers, but IndyCar President Jay Frye said that officials have "held 'exploratory' discussions about staging a race in Sydney," according to van Leeuwen & Malsher of AUTOSPORT.
IndyCar has "made no secret of its ongoing desire to return to Australia," with talks of a "revived Gold Coast Indy event stretching back several years."
The Queensland government has "shown genuine interest in bringing the series back" to Surfers Paradise for the first time since '08, but a "resolution on a date has been a stumbling block." IndyCar has "made it clear it wants to race in Australia in February."
Kalitta Motorsports to make big sponsor announcement for 2020 (Update)
Brian Norko, Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd, Shawn Langdon and Chad Head at NGK Kalitta Motorsports sponsorship announcement during SEMA
UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Kalitta Motorsports, the seven-time NHRA world championship winning team, and NGK Spark Plugs announced an exclusive multi-year partnership today at SEMA that pairs the world’s leading spark plug brand to one of the most legendary teams in motorsports. The marketing partnership, which will officially begin in 2020, will see every race car in the Kalitta Motorsports stable use NGK Spark Plugs in all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
“We are thrilled to announce this partnership with NGK Spark Plugs,” said Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports General Manager. “The Kalitta team, led by Connie Kalitta, has been one of the most innovative and creative motorsports organizations for 60 years. We feel the partnership with NGK Spark Plugs will continue this tradition of performance excellence and championship results.”
Penske to implement guaranteed starting spots in 500
With Tony George listening, Roger punted on the guaranteed starting spot question
Roger Penske has long argued that full-time, championship contending teams should have a guaranteed starting spot in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, similar to what NASCAR does for its regular teams.
This became a big topic in 2018 when James Hinchcliffe, fifth in the championship standings, failed to qualify for the 33-car field. Now that he owns the Indy 500 will Penske push for guaranteed starting spots?
In yesterday's press conference, when asked this question, Penske punted:
Hulkenberg denies move to DTM in 2020 even though his Alfa Romeo option in F1 is now gone. Will he stay home and tend to gardening in 2020?
UPDATE (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg has slammed as "fake news" reports he will on Tuesday be unveiled as a DTM driver for 2020.
The German's comments come as his last real option to stay on the F1 grid next year, the race seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo, is filled.
"Antonio (Giovinazzi) has emerged as a very quick driver, even alongside as tough a benchmark as Kimi, and we expect him to develop even further as his experience grows," Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur announced on Monday.
Earlier, media reports by the leading Motorsport Network announced that Hulkenberg, 32, could be unveiled on Tuesday as a works BMW driver in the German touring car series DTM for 2020.
Tony George admits there were attempts to buy IndyCar
Over the last couple of years AR1.com rumored that Liberty Media made two runs at trying to buy the IndyCar series, only to be rebuffed, and met by denials from Mark Miles saying IndyCar is not for sale. Our inside sources were solid, but the sale never happened.
Well today, we learned from Tony George in the press conference after it was announced Roger Penske was buying IndyCar lock, stock and barrel, that those rumors were true:
“There were offers," George said. "I remember back to 1977-78, and recently we had some up to a couple years ago – most recently this past spring. But we’ve always been committed, and I’ve said before that my mother was committed, everyone has always been committed, but you had to start to take into account the bigger picture. Is this really the best thing for this institution?"
McLaren F1's Petrobras Deal To Be Terminated (4th Update)
Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren
UPDATE McLaren have confirmed that its sponsorship deal with Brazilian oil giant Petrobras will be terminated with immediate effect and the companies logos removed from the car for the next race.
Petrobras, which is majority owned – 64 per cent – by the Brazilian government, agreed a five-year sponsorship deal with McLaren at the beginning of the 2018 season but ever since Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in, he has pushed for the deal to be cancelled.
The deal, reportedly worth £163 million, will therefore come to an end ahead of the Brazilian GP, where the logos will no longer be on the MCL34.
Mark Miles said IndyCar was not for sale, but AR1.com maintained it was.
UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today although IndyCar was not sold to Liberty, but to Roger Penske. See Hot News
11/10/18 The original rumor was that Liberty wanted to buy IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the powers to be keep saying it is not for sale.
That was the case before the Nov. 3 death of Mari Hulman George--the matriarch of IMS and IndyCar Series parent Hulman & Co. And it’s still the case.
“As a practice, we don’t discuss our corporate ownership structure. However, the passing of Mari Hulman George does not affect the operation of IMS and IMS is not for sale,” Speedway President Doug Boles told Anthony Schoetle of IBJ.
Alonso to return to Indy 500 without McLaren (4th Update)
Alonso must find a Chevy team to run with
UPDATE (GMM) McLaren has apparently closed the door to a Formula 1 return for Fernando Alonso.
Alonso, who quit at the end of last year, said this week that he would study the 2021 regulations in view of a potential return.
But McLaren supremo Zak Brown said in Austin: "We have a clear direction in Formula 1 with our current drivers."
However, Brown is also quoted by El Mundo Deportivo newspaper as suggesting there could be roles outside of F1 for 38-year-old Alonso.
"Depending on what our other activities are, we can have an open mind to continuing our relationship with Fernando," he said.
"We will talk at the end of the year about what he wants in the future, what we want, and see if there is anything that makes sense for us to work on together.
"I get along very well with him. I think that with the different categories he is doing, if we can put him in a car then he is still one of the fastest drivers in the world," Brown added.
"We now have our Indycar team, we are exploring the opportunities in WEC, and we have a long-term contract with Mika Hakkinen as a team ambassador.
"We will sit down with Fernando and ask ourselves if there is anything that makes sense for working together."
If Alonso wants to win the Indy 500 he will not run with the Arrow McLaren SP team, which will have two youngster who know nothing about car setup as his teammates. If Penske would run a 4th car for him he would have a real chance of winning the 500.
07/10/19 Red Bull F1's Dr. Helmut Marko told motorsport-total.com that the 37-year-old former McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso is an "absolute no-go" for the Japanese manufacturer.
Whether this pertains only to F1, or worldwide, remains to be seen, but it supports the notion Alonso will be back at Indy in a Chevy in 2020, perhaps even with McLaren.
07/08/19 (GMM) Fernando Alonso and McLaren have denied reports that they have split.
The Spaniard raced with the British team between 2015 and 2018, and remained a McLaren 'ambassador' this year after quitting F1.
But McLaren and Alonso's Indy 500 effort in May was an absolute failure, and a British media report claimed that the two parties have now split altogether.
McLaren supremo Zak Brown told the Associated Press that the report was "fake news".
"We definitely still have a strong and contractual relationship with Fernando," he said.
A McLaren statement added that "nothing whatsoever has changed in the relationship".
It added that "no decision" has been taken about another joint Indy 500 assault, however.
On Twitter, Alonso said the reports of his McLaren split were more suited to "April fools", and were a mere push for internet "clicks".
And a source close to the 37-year-old told El Mundo Deportivo newspaper: "Everything remains the same. Nothing has changed."
However, it is believed Alonso is eyeing a potential return to Formula 1, but only with a top team like Mercedes or Ferrari.
And Geri Halliwell, the former Spice Girl who is married to Red Bull boss Christian Horner, told Servus TV: "We should bring back the greats of the past.
"Alonso, for example," she added.
07/05/19 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' with this news.
Michael Andretti just needs to ask Honda. A Honda spokesperson told AR1.com, "none of our teams have approached us with regards to having Alonso driving for them in 2020. Until/unless that happens, I can’t really say how it would be received."
05/31/19 (GMM) Flavio Briatore has given a strong hint that Fernando Alonso will not return to the Indy 500 with McLaren.
Fully competitive with an Andretti car in 2017 before an engine problem, Spaniard Alonso tried to complete his 'triple crown' this year but the full McLaren entry failed even to qualify.
It has thrown the entire future of McLaren's Indycar ambitions into question, with Zak Brown admitting it is unlikely plans for the full season will proceed in 2020.
Worsening the situation for McLaren is that Briatore, who is reportedly still involved in Alonso's management, is scathing of the British outfit's Indy 500 effort.
"The Indy thing was badly organized. Very badly," he is quoted by Movistar.
"It has been a great 'cazzata'," said Briatore, using a vulgar Italian word.
When asked if Alonso will try again for the triple crown with a team other than McLaren, the flamboyant Italian added: "Let's hope."
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