UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK McLaren unveils distinctive chrome livery; Ex-F1 star Berger buys into Speed's team INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Feb. 13, 2006 - Fans attending the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway...
UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK
McLaren unveils distinctive chrome livery; Ex-F1 star Berger buys into Speed's team
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Feb. 13, 2006 - Fans attending the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have no trouble identifying the two McLaren-Mercedes cars. This season the cars will feature a unique, highly reflective chrome paint job.
"Wow," said 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who will drive the No. 4 McLaren. "What a beautiful-looking car. I have obviously been testing the MP4- 21 quite a bit already but seeing the car like this is something else."
During winter testing, the 2006 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-21 was painted with the classic orange colors of team founder Bruce McLaren. The team's new livery was unveiled Feb. 10.
"A lot of research and months of work have gone into creating this unique chrome finish," said McLaren Marketing Managing Director Ekrem Sami. "We are always looking at innovative ways to allow our sponsor partners to differentiate their brands from the competition through their partnership with the team, and this unique livery is designed to be extremely photogenic."
McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second last year in the Drivers World Championship to Fernando Alonso, said the chrome car looks stunning.
"I had only seen illustrations of the new livery until now, but they do it no justice," he said. "It looks fantastic and should create a bit of a stir when we drive it on tracks around the world. If we can make the car as fast as it looks, then we will be in good shape."
F1 ace becomes team owner: Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger has assumed a 50-percent ownership of Scuderia Toro Rosso, the F1 team for which Californian Scott Speed will drive this season.
Austria's Berger competed in 210 Grands Prix from 1984-97 and drove for top teams such as Ferrari, McLaren-Honda and Benetton-Renault. He started from the pole 12 times, including twice at the United States Grand Prix, won 10 times and finished on the podium 38 other times. From 1987-97, Berger finished between sixth and third in the Drivers World Championship.
After retiring from driving, Berger stayed involved in racing as BMW's motorsports director from 1998-2003.
Berger will be able to give plenty of advice to rookie Speed, who just turned 23, and his teammate, Tonio Liuzzi.
Berger took over 50 percent of the team from Red Bull in a deal in which Red Bull assumes 50 percent of Berger's European-based trucking and shipping business. Berger also will work as a consultant for Toro Rosso's sister team, Red Bull Racing, and drivers David Coulthard and Christian Klien.
"Three birds with one stone!" Berger said. "The involvement of a company like Red Bull is an important milestone for the Berger shipping company and for its successful future development. On the other hand, I am aware that my F1 know-how is very much valued by Red Bull, in general, and by the Italian Toro Rosso team, in particular.
"Last but not least, I'm looking forward to not only continuing to have a great time with (Red Bull founder) Dietrich Mateschitz but also to being able to implement serious and visionary business developments together in the future."
New team to test soon: Super Aguri F1 Team, the new F1 team that has entered the championship this season, begins testing its Honda-powered SA05 on Feb. 21 in Spain.
New U.S. sponsor: The Technology Advancement Group, a United States-based engineering solutions company, has adapted its non-classified military technology to assist MF1 Racing in combating the heat and dust problems that plague computer control systems in F1's harsh racing environment.
2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.
All 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.