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Saturday, October 4, 2008

F1 News roundup

Here’s a bit of what’s making news around F1 and in the motorsports world this weekend.

Williams to retain drivers

Williams will stick with Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima next season, as well as current test driver Nico Hulkenberg.

The announcement ends speculation Rosberg, who finished second in Singapore, would be snapped up by BMW Sauber, or another front-line team.

Mallya to join the QPR party

The Daily Mail reports Force India owner Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher brand is set to agree on a five-year $35 million shirt sponsorship deal with Queens Park Rangers, the football team owned by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore

An announcement is expected next week.

Decision on Donington by end of year

Autosport reports the local government is likely to reach a decision by the end of the year whether to grant approval for Donington Park's redevelopment plan.

Part of that wait is for an environmental impact study.

The redevelopments are vital if that track is to fulfill its obligations to host the British Grand Prix in 2010. The local council seems supportive of having the event in its district.

“The prospect of Formula One at Donington Park is something really exciting for the district as a whole. We will though be making sure that the environmental impact of proposed development at the site is properly considered,” John Bridges, a cabinet member, is quoted.

Heidfeld has Seoul

BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld became the first F1 driver to drive in Seoul, South Korea.

The German took five runs up and down a closed strip in the city in front of 20,000 fans.

Heidfeld will make another stop in the country Sunday, before heading to Fuji.

South Korea is oft mentioned as a target for a future race.

Castroneves pleads not guilty to tax evasion

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves pleaded not guilty to tax evasion Friday.

He is charged of using offshore accounts to dodge taxes on $5 million earned between 1999 and 2004.

Castroneves was indicted Thursday on charges of conspiracy and six counts of tax evasion, each of which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

The driver is out on $10 million bail, but terms of his release restrict him from travel outside the U.S., meaning he will likely miss the IndyCar season ender in Australia, a non-points-paying race.

Andretti Green Racing to field A1GP effort

Andretti Green Racing announced it is entering the “world cup of motorsport,” fielding an A1GP team this season.

“We are very proud to be representing the United States on the level and competitive playing field that is provided by A1GP,” said team co-owner, Michael Andretti. “Andretti Green has been fortunate to enjoy a reasonable amount of success in just six seasons of operation and we’re looking forward to joining the world stage of A1GP.”

The team’s driver lineup will be announced at the season opener at Zandvoort. It has been speculated Andretti is planning on using the series to get road racing experience for his IndyCar drivers, including son Marco and Danica Patrick.

There is no word on what this will does to Rick Weidinger’s original U.S. effort, which finally started to achieve success last season with Jonathan Summerton after several seasons of lackluster performance.

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