BMW scotches talk of F1 comeback

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BMW says there is no substance to comments made by Bernie Ecclestone suggesting they could be about to return to Formula One.

“I think they could come in… it makes sense for them to return,” said Ecclestone yesterday.

But BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt told Autosport: “I don’t know with whom Bernie spoke.”

He said the company was focused on racing in touring car and sports car series in which their race cars closely resemble the road going models:

“We orientated ourselves around that which our customers recognize as being BMW,” explained Marquardt. “There is no reason to alter this concept. It is currently running very well.”

Ecclestone drew a comparison between BMW and Honda, who have been attracted back to Formula One by the new engine regulations which come into force next year.

But Marquardt said they do not interest BMW at present. “There are always good timing points at which to enter something.”

“For example, we chose the right moment to make our entry into DTM because new regulations were on their way.”

“Now F1 has new engine regulations. That suits Honda and has been noted. However, we have not reacted further.”

BMW left Formula One at the end of the 2009 season in which it finished sixth in the constructors’ championship.

MRTI: pre-season testing Day 2 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Day 2 of testing for the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires saw two series hit the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course for pre-season testing. The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda both got their turns on Saturday after the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires took to the 1.5-mile oval on Friday.

Both series got in two sessions apiece during the day. Below are quick reports for Pro Mazda and USF2000.

Pro Mazda: Thompson, Askew Lead Opening Sessions

A pair of USF2000 graduates led the two sessions for Pro Mazda. In Session 1, it was Parker Thompson and Exclusive Autosport leading the way, while Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew, last year’s USF2000 champion, led the way in Session 2. Times from both sessions are below.

Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, last year’s runnerup in the USF2000 championship, also put in a strong showing, ending up second in Session 2.

This was also the first official session for the brand new Tatuus PM-18, and it’s first official outing showed off quite a bit of speed. Lap times were reportedly upwards of four seconds a lap faster than the previous Elan Pro Mazda chassis.

USF2000: Pabst Racing, Cape Motosports Lead the Way

The teams that battled for last year’s USF2000 crown, Cape Motorsports and Pabst Racing, traded early blows during Saturday testing, with each team leading a session.

Pabst Racing’s Rasmus Lindh led the way in Session 1, with four Pabst cars in the top five, while Kyle Kirkwood led Session 2 for Cape. Times from both sessions are below.

However, it should be noted that DEForce Racing’s Kory Enders spent most of Session 2 at the top of the speed charts before getting pushed down to third late in the running. With the top three finishers from last year’s USF2000 championship all moving on to Pro Mazda (Askew, VeeKay, and Thompson), this USF2000 season could be anyone’s for the taking.

Of note, Keith Donegan, who signed with ArmsUp Motorsports after winning the $200K scholarship from Mazda Motorsports in November’s Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, was 16th in Session 1, but did not turn laps in Session 2.

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