By: N.A. on March 25, 2002
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 52, ISSUE 13

Four F1 races on ABC
ABC Sports will televise four Formula One races this season. The network will televise the Grand Prix of Monaco on May 26, the Grand Prix of Canada on June 9, the Grand Prix of Italy on Sept. 14 and the U.S. Grand Prix on Sept. 29. The broadcasts from Canada and Indianapolis will be live, with Monaco shown at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and Italy at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Saleen penalized
The Saleen S7R was hit by a big performance penalty just before the opening round of the American Le Mans Series (page 41). The four GTS-class cars entered in the Sebring 12-hour were forced to run with 70kg of ballast and 15 percent smaller engine air restrictors. The penalties were applied because the Saleen failed to meet new eligibility regulations introduced over the winter. The California supercar builder received a total of three penalties, the biggest for failing to build the prerequisite number of road cars. Saleen headed into the race believing it could count three race S7Rs toward the 12-car production minimum. A rule clarification before the race meant the nine road cars in production were not enough. The extra weight and reduction in engine power meant the best of the Saleens qualified nearly 3.5 seconds behind the pole-winning Chevrolet Corvette C5-R. Tommy Erdos, who set the time in the Graham Nash Motorsport entry, said, “This is affecting us immensely. The weight hits us in the corners and straight-line speed is way down.” Both Saleen and Le Mans are confident the performance restrictions will be removed as the company meets the rules. Gerard Gaschet, one of the Le Mans rules bosses, said, “Step by step the penalties will disappear.”

Laguna revamp
Remember the quaint, mostly flat paddock at Laguna Seca? It’s history. By the time you read this, construction crews will be pouring concrete on the first new garages, hospitality suites and fancy restrooms as part of Laguna’s $15 million improvement project. Ten double-car garages and 12 hospitality suites along with numerous other improvements will be in place by the end of the 2002 race season. Twenty double garages and 29 hospitality suites will be in place by the end of the 2003 season. Further upgrades are planned beyond that. The CART, Superbike, Monterey Historics and Sports Car events will go on as planned. See for more.

Long signs with Manor
Patrick Long, the young American driver who finished second in last year’s British Formula Ford title chase, has signed with the powerful Manor Motorsports team for the 2002 British Formula Renault championship. Manor Motorsports has a strong record of success in both Formula Renault and Formula 3. Finn Kimi Raikkonen, now driving for McLaren in F1, captured the 2000 British Formula Renault championship in a Manor-prepared car. Raikkonen moved straight from Formula Renault to F1. Long ran British Formula Ford last year, winning three races and losing the championship at the last race. His runner-up position was the highest ever by an American in the class. Thirteen Formula Renault rounds will be held at 11 races. The 2002 season kicks off April 1 at Brands Hatch.