Autosport.com says Sergio Perez is out at McLaren and Kevin Magnussen is in. If true, how long do you think it will take the Lotus F1 Team to confirm its 2014 driver lineup?
Fernando Alonso said at the last race in Abu Dhabi that he is sick and tired of reporters asking him where he will be driving in 2014. Guess what the first question will be when he gets to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin this week?
Since Nico Hulkenberg won't be driving for Lotus, as had been reported as being a lock, guess which very famous Formula One team he will be driving for?
As a friend of mine said, this is going to be a very interesting weekend in Texas.
Moving right along, I have been saying for years that it's a shame we don't have a national open-wheel racing series in this country. Open-wheel racing is how Canada built its international reputation in the world of motorsport and it's disgraceful that we have frittered it away.
For a number of years now, I have urged a well-known Canadian racing organizer to create a national Formula Ford series. There is no reason why - at last count - eight up-and-coming Canadian formula car drivers have had to go to the United States to find a development series to test their skills and other abilities. The USF2000 series does a fine job but those kids should be racing at home.
One of the barriers to such a national series, however, is that the two major regional Formula 1600 series - one in Ontario and the other in Quebec - haven't been terribly cooperative in recent years. While some Ontario racers have ventured into Quebec - primarily because an F1600 race has been on the undercard of the Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve - none (or very few) of the Quebec Formula Tour teams have turned out to race in Ontario.
There have been attemps made to close this gap previously.
Rob Howden, publisher of eKartingNews.com, eFormulaCarNews.com and IndoorKartingNews.com, among other sites, created the one-off, winner-take-all, Can-Am Cup for F1600 cars a few years ago with the idea of attracting racers from Quebec, Ontario and the northern United States but for one reason or another his vision didn't turn out the way he'd intended.
And Brian Graham, who's responsible for the success of countless young open-wheel racers and the creator of the Team Canada Scholarship to take two Canadian racers each year to the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in England, has tried to entice some of the Formula Tour drivers to race in Ontario but to little, if no, avail.
However, an announcement Monday gives reason for optimism - not for a national series but certainly a thaw that could see Ontario and Quebec F1600 racers going up against each other as many as four times a season.
And, if that works out, who knows? Maybe a coast-to-coast series isn't so much of a pipe dream after all.
In a release, Jason Sharpe (left in photo below) of Move Motorsports (promoters of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship based in Ontario) and Marcel Lafontaine of Formula Tour (promoters of the Formula Tour F1600 Championship based in Quebec) announced that they have reached an agreement to jointly promote a new, inter-provincial championship named the Formula 1600 Super Series.
The Super Series will be made up of four races and will have its own points system. A champion will be crowned, with compensation commensurate with the level of competition.
Both promoters pledged to work together to make the inaugural season a success.
Said Lafontaine: "Two thousand and fourteen will be the beginning of new era in entry level open wheel racing. When I met Jason (Sharpe), I realized how much he has helped Formula 1600 in Ontario and we quickly got to work discussing how we could work together to bring F1600 back to the top. We have spent a lot of time working on the calendars to avoid conflicts, looked for similar needs in the sport and today (we have) the launch of the Super Series. This is just awesome.”
Said Sharpe, in the same release: “I am incredibly enthused about this announcement today. Marcel and I started these discussions in April of last year. He and I got along very well and I could see he shared not only the same vision for the junior formula car ranks as we do but, more importantly, he shared the same passion and willingness to make it work for the betterment of the sport and it’s competitors. I could not have asked for a better partner.”
Canadian racing legends Scott Goodyear, Ron Fellows, Paul Tracy and the late Greg Moore all got their start in Formula 1600 racing. More recently, NASCAR stars like the Dumoulin brothers, J.F. and L.P, as well as IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe and American LeMans Series star Kyle Marcelli raced F1600 cars on their way up.
The organizers have promised to announce the four-race schedule in the next few months. I suggest that in addition to the Grand Prix weekend in Montreal - it's a given that one of the races will be held then - that they do all they can to have a Super Series race on the same card as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next Labour Day weekend.
If I was them, I sure wouldn't want that huge crowd to go to waste.
- NORRIS McDONALD