Archive | July 2, 2009

Johnny Benson hospitalised in ISMA race

July 2, 2009

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Sources: http://www.autoracingdaily.com/news/modified-racing/video-johnny-benson-jrs-crash-at-berlin-raceway/; http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/truck/news/story?id=4264274;

Johnny Benson (reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion) was hospitalised after his car collided with another car (driven by Larry Lehnert) before bursting into flames in an International SuperModified Association (ISMA) 50-lap race at the Berlin Raceway (nr Grand Rapids, Michigan) on Saturday 13th June.

Although Benson was taken to hospital (with reported burns and broken ribs) he was discharged three days later and is expected to make a full recovery, Lehnert was not injured in the crash.

A Youtube video of the crash can be found here:

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Talladega Afternoons: The Ballad of Carl Edwards

July 2, 2009

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Sources: http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/headlines/cup/04/26/post.race.fans.injured.talladega.cedwards/story_single.html#page2 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/5231092/Nascar-investigate-Carl-Edwards-crash-after-seven-spectators-injured.html

A collision between two cars (driven by Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards) at a NASCAR race led to Edwards’ car crashing into perimeter fencing on the final lap of the Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 449 race at the Talladega Superspeedway (Alabama) on Sunday 26th April.

Seven spectators were struck by flying debris from the collision and suffered non-life-threatening minor injuries (including a suspected broken jaw and minor contusions / fractures). An additional spectator sitting in the same grandstand also suffered chest pains after she had witnessed the incident (possible primary psychiatric damage anyone?), while Edwards himself was able to jog from his car across the finishing line.

According to both a NASCAR official (Jim Hunter) and the medical director of the track (Dr. Bobby Lewis), it was not possible to say with any certainty whether the pieces of debris came from Edwards’ car or from the fence that absorbed the impact, what is important though is that the retaining fence stayed intact and kept the wreckage of the car on the race track. Without this fence, there is no doubt that the injuries could have been fatal.

See also critical reaction from Joe Menzer (from NASCAR.com) who suggests that further safety changes need to be made in order to make the track safe:  http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/opinion/04/26/one.menz.jmenzer.talladega.safety.cedwards/story_single.html#page2

You can see a Youtube clip of the crash here:

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Alexander Mosley death

July 2, 2009

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Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/motorSportsNews/idUKL642694620090506?feedType=RSS&feedName=motorSportsNews&sp=true; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mosley-son-died-of-drug-abuse-1701809.html

A coroner (Dr Paul Knapman) has ruled that Alexander Mosley, 39 (son of FIA President, Max Mosley) and co-founder of the Hereford Road Restaurant, died of non-dependent drug abuse at his home on Notting Hill on the 5th May. The inquest was told that Alexander had been using “hard drugs [heroin & crack cocaine] for many years and had recently been treated for depression. Later toxicology tests found large traces of cocaine in his urine alongside smaller traces of other substances including ketamine, MDMA (ecstasy) and heroin or morphine.

The post-mortem examination revealed no definite cause of death, although puncture-type wounds were apparently found around Mr Mosley’s elbows and groin.

The BBC reports that his cleaner (Samara Fodoti) found him slumped at his desk wearing only his boxer shorts and surrounded by crack pipes, syringes, needles, powders and things used for taking drugs.

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Donington

July 2, 2009

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Sources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/5208205/British-Grand-Prix-future-threatened-by-Donington-Park-owners-lawsuit.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/5451581/Donington-Park-clear-legal-hurdle-in-bid-to-stage-2010-British-Grand-Prix.html; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/5454942/Simon-Gillett-adamant-Donington-Park-will-host-British-GP.html ; http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/98471/Gillett-banking-on-the-best-of-British):

Yet another twist in the proposed £100m redevelopment of the Donington race circuit in preparation for its hosting of the British Grand Prix in 2010. While Donington had beaten Silvestone to securing 17yr hosting rights for the event, at a reputed £12m pa, doubts had begun to be raised over the track’s ability to complete this redevelopment.

At the start of the year, Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd (DVLL) is reputed to have owed the track’s owners (Wheatcroft & Son Ltd) £2.47m in rent arrears dating back to September 2008. Kevin Wheatcroft finally launched a legal action (at Derby Crown Court) against the track in April to recover the outstanding rent and force the track operators to forfeit their 150-year lease on the circuit.

The catalyst for this action seemed to be when Simon Gillett (Chief Executive of Donington Ventures Ltd) missed the March deadline to announce details of a ‘debenture scheme’ to finance the track redevelopment. After this omission, it would seem that the Wheatcroft’s lost confidence in DVLL’s ability to repay their debts. North West Leicestershire District Council even threatened to revoke the planning permission they had previously agreed for the track development if the two sides could not reach an agreement over the section 106 document (concerning the event’s safety).

Legal action was however averted on 5th June, when the two sides confirmed they had reached an out-of-court settlement over both the outstanding rent and the planning permission.

The problems for Gillett arose when he lost the support of his bank (understood by the Telegraph to be Goldman Sachs in a joint venture with IMG) to fund the track redevelopment through a debenture scheme. He later released details of this scheme in the Daily Express (http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/98471/Gillett-banking-on-the-best-of-British):

“Debentures will be offered on three, five and 10-year levels. People will be pleasantly surprised at the prices with the lower level at £1,200-a-year going up to the platinum at £4,000 with varying degrees of access to superb new facilities for debenture holders.

They also plan to have “participatory” events for debenture holders with track competitions and other schemes to allow hands-on use of Donington. “All of this with a superb debenture clubhouse with three levels with everything people want in terms of quality, from food to views,” added Gillett.

We’re only looking for 4,700 a year globally to buy into our idea. Our survey shows they are out there.”

Initial estimates suggested that the project would raise £175m over 10 years. Since March, this figure has now been revised to £140m, excluding corporate hospitality.  Similar debenture schemes were used to fund construction projects at Lord’s, Wembley, Wimbledon and Twickenham, see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/international/england/2322630/Wembley-forced-to-make-cutbacks.html

And will include 40 days of entertainment apart from the grand prix including other motorsport and music events such as the Download festival.

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Lewis Hamilton suspension in Melbourne

July 2, 2009

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Ok, this one’s old news by now, but still worth including on the blog for future reference.

Sources: http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/090402110240.shtml; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/lewishamilton/5096265/Lewis-Hamiltons-reputation-tarnished-after-Melbourne-controversy.html

Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Melbourne F1 race for misleading race stewards (Charlie Whiting, Olafur Gudmundsson & Steve Chopping) over an on-track incident with Jarno Trulli.

Essentially, the facts are that there was a collision between Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) which led to a safety car being deployed. As Trulli went around a corner, he went wide and left the track. He was then passed by Lewis Hamilton. Dave Ryan (McLaren’s Sporting Director) then instructed Lewis to slow down in order to let Trulli pass him to regain third place (for fear of a repeat of the 2008 incident, with Ferrari where Lewis was docked points). At the end of the race however, McLaren complained that Trulli had overtaken during a safety car phase and Trulli received a 25second time-penalty which demoted him to 12th place, while Lewis was promoted to 3rd.

Both McLaren and Lewis were charged with a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code (acting in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the Stewards). Allegedly the team was not explicit enough in releasing the content of the radio transmission between the team and Hamilton during the incident. Interestingly, this was the same Article 151c that McLaren were held to have breached in the infamous spy-gate scandal over the use of Ferrari data.

FIA Charge sheet: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/mclaren/5120783/FIA-charge-sheet-for-McLaren-in-full.html

Martin Whitmarsh (team principal for Mclaren), who was on holiday after the incident, placed all the blame for this decision on Ryan, and suggested that a culture of cheating did not exist at McLaren. A transcript of the April 5th press conference with Whitmarsh can be read here: http://timesonline.typepad.com/formula_one/2009/04/whitmarsh-it-was-incompetance-not-conspiracy.html

While a transcript of Hamilton’s radio transmission can be read here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/lewishamilton/5095480/Lewis-Hamilton-disqualification-radio-transmission-transcript.html

Dave Ryan was suspended by McLaren and subsequently sacked, while Lewis Hamilton publicly apologised for “wasting the steward’s time” and claimed he had been misled by Ryan.

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Driver licences (update)

July 2, 2009

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Last couple of motor sports posts before we move onto recent case law,

Sources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/5040417/F1-drivers-licences-to-be-cheaper-in-2010.html; http://uk.reuters.com/article/motorSportsNews/idUKLQ24047520090326?feedType=RSS&feedName=motorSportsNews

We talked earlier in the year that the F1 drivers were upset by the cost of their super licences for drivers and this led to problems ahead of the start of the 2009 season. Hopefully this has now been resolved. Both the FIA and the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) have now agreed to a proposal to be made to the World Motor Sport Council to revise the super licence fees for drivers in the 2010 championship.

Lewis Hamilton (Last year’s World Champion) has also finally decided to join the GDPA after previously resisting calls to do so.

FIA Press Statement: http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/f1releases/2009/Pages/fia_licence.aspx

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