Bobby Rahal, Graham Rahal

Graham and Bobby Rahal talk about father-son partnership

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This year’s Indianapolis 500 isn’t the first time IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal has teamed up with his father, 1986 Indy winner Bobby Rahal, to take on “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” In 2010, Graham finished 12th for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team at Indy.

But 2013 will mark the first “500” for Graham as a full-time driver for the family team, and both father and son believe that it was important for Graham to get experience driving for other squads before he “returned home,” so to speak.

“I think it was important for Graham as a person, you know, to go out and see what the rest of the world, how they go about it,” Bobby said on Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “He was very fortunate to be with great teams.”

Graham started his IZOD IndyCar Series career with Newman-Haas Racing, but when sponsorship couldn’t be found to keep him there, he was forced to drive for multiple squads in 2010 before landing at Chip Ganassi Racing for what would be a two-year run.

When his time with Ganassi came to a close, the second-generation racer decided this off-season that the competitive RLL team was now the right place for him.

“It was right to go out and be with the other operations that I drove for, but at the same time it’s best that we’re here,” Graham said. “I think for…everybody within this team, you have to look at what’s best for each and every one of us.

“As I talked to a lot of different teams last fall, it just became clearly apparent to me that this is where I wanted to be and this is where I needed to be to further my career, to have the success that I want to have, and the dedication to our program.”

Rahal has qualified this afternoon for the “500,” posting a four-lap average of 225.139 miles per hour in his No. 15 RLL Honda.

Ecclestone has ‘no doubts’ Monza will remain on F1 calendar

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MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.

Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”

No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.

Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”

The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Alternative engine solution rejected by F1 Commission

Nico Rosberg

Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.

The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.

“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.

Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:

Those are:

  • a guarantee of supply to teams
  • the need to reduce the engines’ cost
  • simplification of the specification
  • “improved noise”

Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Super Formula test hampered by engine woes

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
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You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.

Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.

The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA Formula E to remain at Battersea Park following vote

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Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.

This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.

The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.

Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.