2006 TURKISH GRAND PRIX POSTSCRIPT Speed excited about 2007, USGP; Schumacher not giving up title fight INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006 - Scott Speed, America's only Formula One driver, is excited about his prospects for the 2007 season...
2006 TURKISH GRAND PRIX POSTSCRIPT
Speed excited about 2007, USGP; Schumacher not giving up title fight
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006 - Scott Speed, America's only Formula One driver, is excited about his prospects for the 2007 season that includes the United States Grand Prix on June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
At the Turkish Grand Prix, Scuderia Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger said it is virtually certain that Speed and Tonio Liuzzi will drive for the team again next year.
"I think next year I am going to have a very good opportunity here," Speed said. "It's going to be a good opportunity for both me and Tonio, for sure. We have enough experience, and we are going to be in a good situation. Our team is going to be very good next year."
After the enthusiastic welcome the fans gave Speed at Indianapolis during this year's United States Grand Prix, Speed said he is looking forward to the 2007 USGP "the most of all" of next season's races.
Championship chase: With just four races to go in the 2006 season, Fernando Alonso leads the Drivers World Championship with 108 points while Michael Schumacher is 12 points behind at 96.
The two drivers staged a thrilling duel for second place Aug. 27 in Turkey where Alonso beat Schumacher by just a few feet. Both say that the championship is still wide open.
"Every weekend is a new challenge, a new opportunity to increase the gap or a new opportunity to close the gap," Alonso said. "You can lose everything very quickly these days in the races."
Schumacher is not giving up.
"I still believe I can win the title," he said.
In the Constructors World Championship, Renault holds a two-point lead over Ferrari.
Massa's momentum: Felipe Massa's first career Grand Prix victory came in Turkey in a season where he has steadily been gaining momentum.
He celebrated on the podium for the first time in his F1 career when he finished third May 7 in the European Grand Prix in his Ferrari. Popular Brazilian Massa followed that with a second place July 2 in the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Since then he finished third in France, second in Germany and seventh in Hungary, and he then topped it all by winning in Turkey. Massa also earned the first F1 pole position of his career in Turkey.
200 races: The Turkish Grand Prix was the 200th race for McLaren/Mercedes partnership.
Massa joins elite list: Felipe Massa became the 87th different driver to win a race since the FIA Formula One World Championship began in 1950. That list of drivers includes the winners of the Indianapolis 500 from 1950 through 1960 as the "500" then was part of the championship.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has played host to the United States Grand Prix on its 2.605-mile road circuit since 2000.
Fifteen years later: Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut Aug. 25, 1991 in the Belgian Grand Prix. On Aug. 27, 2007 in Turkey, he started his 246th Grand Prix.
During his career, Schumacher has set just about every F1 record, including winning the World Championship seven times, plus 89 Grand Prix victories (including five wins at the United States Grand Prix), 68 poles, 75 fastest race laps and 152 podium finishes.
Schumacher will announce at the Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 9-11 whether he will to retire after this season or continue racing in 2007.
Down to the wire: The winner of the GP2 championship will be decided in the final two races contested Sept. 9-10 in conjunction with the Italian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton leads Nelson Piquet Jr. by 10 points.
Introduced last year as the replacement for Formula 3000, GP2 has been the stepping-stone to F1 for drivers like Scott Speed and Nico Rosberg.
Youngest ever: Germany's Sebastian Vettel drove the third BMW Sauber in the two Friday practice sessions, setting the fastest time of the day, at the Turkish Grand Prix. At the age of 19 years and 53 days, he became the youngest person ever to drive a F1 car during a Grand Prix weekend.
New Zealander Mike Thackwell previously held the record when at age 19 years and 180 days he practiced for the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix.
2007 USGP tickets: The ticketing program for the 2007 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for June 17, will start Wednesday, Aug. 30 with the renewal period for existing USGP customers and the sale of three-day "Season Passes" for $60 to all customers. All other reserved seats will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 1.
Existing USGP customers can renew their seats from Aug. 30-Sept. 25. Ticket holders who renew by Monday, Sept. 25 will receive the official 2006 Formula One Season Review, a full-color book valued at $40, that recaps all of the exciting action of this World Championship season, including the 2006 USGP.
New customers also can place a general request for tickets during the renewal period.
Ticket information can be found any time at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-4639 or (317) 492-6700. Ticket Office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.