2006 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX POSTSCRIPT Speed feels no extra pressure racing at Indy; Alonso aims to keep streak alive INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - As much as he is keenly anticipating racing in the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at...
2006 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX POSTSCRIPT
Speed feels no extra pressure racing at Indy; Alonso aims to keep streak alive
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - As much as he is keenly anticipating racing in the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Scott Speed said he won't feel any extra pressure about competing at home.
"It is not something that puts added pressure on me," Speed said. "I put enough pressure on myself because I am naturally ultra-competitive."
Speed, who is in his rookie F1 season driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso, is living a dream.
"I am in F1 because I know that F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports," said Speed, who grew up in Manteca, Calif. "I know that it is the top level. And it has been my dream since I was a kid in karting."
Among the many fans cheering Speed in his USGP debut will be his mother.
"It will be the first time my mom gets to see a F1 car," he said. "She is finally going to make her way out to a race. My dad was in Canada, and he has been to a couple of races, as well as my brother. So my whole family will be at Indianapolis, and it should be a very nice weekend."
Speed finished 10th in the Canadian Grand Prix on June 25. It was his second top 10 finish of the season.
Alonso's streak: Fernando Alonso is aiming to continue an amazing finishing streak at the United States Grand Prix. His win in Canada marked the 15th consecutive time Alonso has finished on the podium.
Alonso had six straight top-three finishes at the end of the 2005 season on his way to becoming, at age 24, the youngest-ever Formula One World Champion. In the first nine races of 2006, he has scored six wins and three second places.
Michael Schumacher holds the record with 19 consecutive podium finishes between the last two races of 2001 and all 17 races of 2002.
Historical U.S. Grand Prix: This year's United States Grand Prix on July 2, 2006 will go into the history books as the first event in the new centennial of Grand Prix racing, while the recent Canadian Grand Prix will be remembered as the last Grand Prix of the first centenary.
While auto races were staged as early as 1895, historians say that the first "Grand Prix" race took place June 26-27, 1906 at Le Mans, France. The era of the city-to-city races was ending and being replaced by "circuit" races. Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz won driving a Renault.
Fernando Alonso drove a Renault to victory in Canada on June 25, 2006, the final event in the first centennial of Grand Prix racing.
U.S. vacation: Four-time United States Grand Prix winner and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and his wife, Corinna, went on vacation in the United States before the Canadian Grand Prix.
"It's a holiday the way we like it - far away from all the hustle and bustle, lots of activities, fabulous nature and lots of laughs," Schumacher said. "It's become somewhat of a tradition for us to have fun for a couple of days before the overseas races."
The location of the holiday spot remains a secret, but the Schumachers, who enjoy horseback riding and the outdoors, often go to the western part of the U.S.
Schumacher finished second in the Canadian Grand Prix in his Ferrari, and he heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway seeking his fifth win at the Brickyard and his third of the season.
Fan survey: F1 fans are being offered a great opportunity to let their ideas mold the future of the sport by taking part in the second annual FIA/AMD Formula One Survey.
"The first FIA/AMD survey was enormously helpful for us as we developed the regulations for the sport in 2008 and beyond," FIA President Max Mosley said. "We look forward to the results of our latest survey, and I would encourage all those interested in Formula One to participate in what we hope will become an annual barometer of public opinion."
The FIA/AMD Formula One Survey 2006 can be accessed at www.fia.com and will be online from June 25. The results of the survey will be published on the FIA and AMD Web sites and in the October editions of F1 Racing magazine.
"We like racing in the U.S.," Ferrari Team Principal Jean Todt said. "Ferrari has its biggest market in the U.S. - one-third of our cars are sold in this country - so for the visibility of Ferrari and of F1 we think it's important to do this race."
Packing for the trip: In addition to three cars and enough parts to build a fourth car, the F1 teams bring a vast amount of spares and equipment to each Grand Prix. In Europe, everything is transported by truck to the races, but for "flyaway" races such as the Grands Prix of Canada and the United States, everything is packed into crates and sent either by sea or by air.
The WilliamsF1 team, for example, sent 120 crates containing some 10,000 individual parts and weighing a total of 32 tons across the Atlantic. Fifty crates with a total weight of about 6 tons were sent early by sea to Montreal because it is cheaper by sea than by air.
The three Williams race cars were mounted on pallets that fit on top of each other in the hold of a Boeing 747 cargo plane. The team brings along six or seven engines and a huge number of tools and spare parts, plus 16 computers, 28 laptops and 100 radios.
After the Canadian Grand Prix on June 25, everything was quickly packed so that it could be at the Montreal airport at 8 a.m. Monday, June 26 and then flown to Indianapolis.
Hot property: One of the most coveted drivers racing at Indianapolis next weekend is Kimi Raikkonen.
Finnish star Raikkonen becomes a free agent in 2007 as his contract with McLaren-Mercedes expires at the end of this season. He has been linked with Ferrari, Renault and McLaren but said he is still not 100 percent certain for which team he drive in 2007.
"For sure I will be in F1 next year," said Raikkonen, who finished third in the Canadian Grand Prix, "so it's not something I have to worry about. I'm happy with how things are going, and I will know at some point this year what is there for me."
2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.
Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.
Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.
A three-day "Season Pass" for the event is only $60. The pass is good for admission to IMS for all three days of on-track activity, Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2. All seating Friday and Saturday is general admission, and the pass provides general admission access to the Viewing Mounds, Infield, First Turn Terrace, South Terrace and Tower Terrace (Sections 39-77) on Sunday, July 2.
Reserved seats for Race Day, Sunday, July 2, start at $75.