US GP notebook 2006-06-30

2006 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK Alonso enjoys passionate Indy fans INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 30, 2006 - Fernando Alonso said the passionate F1 fans at the United States Grand Prix create a fantastic atmosphere at the Indianapolis Motor...

2006 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK
Alonso enjoys passionate Indy fans

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 30, 2006 - Fernando Alonso said the passionate F1 fans at the United States Grand Prix create a fantastic atmosphere at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I am excited to be going back," reigning World Champion Alonso said. "The fans we see here are really passionate about F1 - they are real motorsport fans and really interested in everything that is going on. The atmosphere in the paddock, in the pit lane and around the track is fantastic thanks to them, so I am looking forward to racing here again."

Alonso's Renault teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, feels the same way about the F1 fans and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"There is so much history at the Speedway, and you can feel it every time you go there," Fisichella said. "This is one of the big races of the year for F1, and the circuit has some unique characteristics like the banking, which is very high speed and different to anything else we encounter all year. The fans bring a special atmosphere to the circuit, as well, and I think we can have a great weekend in Indy."

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Easy rider: Seven-time World Champion and four-time United States Grand Prix winner Michael Schumacher and several friends went on a motorcycle trip in the United States before heading to Indianapolis.

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Not so easy riding: Williams-Cosworth driver Mark Webber and the team's reserve driver Alexander Wurz went to Colorado Springs during the short break between the races in Canada and the United States.

They spent three days at the training camps of the Discovery Channel Pro Am Cycling team. The two F1 drivers participated in a special "cycling meets motorsports" athlete testing and training program alongside two cyclists from the Discovery team, Tom Danielson and Jason McCartney, as well as NASCAR drivers Carl Edwards and Bobby Labonte and NASCAR Busch driver David Ragan. The training involved a ride part way up Pikes Peak.

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Speed fine: Officials fined Californian Scott Speed $1,500 for pit lane speeding in the first practice session Friday. He was clocked at 66.5 kph (41.32 mph) in the 60-kph (37 mph) zone. Drivers are fined $250 for each kilometer over the speed limit.

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Sato's podium: Super Aguri Honda driver Takuma Sato enjoys racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's F1 circuit, and he had fond memories of finishing third in the 2004 United States Grand Prix when he drove for BAR-Honda.

"Indy is a special place for me because I had the best race of my F1 career there in 2004 when I achieved my first podium finish," he said. "It is an historic place for motor racing, and the fans are always very supportive.

"The circuit is very unique as it uses the oval banking area with a long straight, but in contrast, the infield features many slow corners. I like the atmosphere at the two North American races, so I am very much looking forward to Indy."

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Portugal vs. Holland: MF1 Racing teammates - Portugal's Tiago Monteiro and Holland's Christian Albers - collided on the opening lap of the Canadian Grand Prix on June 25.

"I went (to Albers) and apologized," Monteiro said. "I made a mistake. I locked my rear wheels. I went straight to him and apologized. No problems. We talked. Everything is clear."

That same day, Portugal knocked Holland out of the World Cup playoffs, 1-0.

"He (Albers) is not happy about that, that's for sure!" Monteiro said. "I think he took that part worse than the crash on track. He's a big football fan."

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Birthday present: Panasonic Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher turned 31 on Friday, June 30. The same day, his home team Germany defeated Argentina in a World Cup soccer game. Schumacher watched the game in Toyota's hospitality area between the two Friday F1 practice sessions.

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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. (ET) 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.

-ims-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Bobby Labonte , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Mark Webber , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Tiago Monteiro , Scott Speed , Carl Edwards , David Ragan
Teams Williams