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Revised McLaren coming to Indy
The McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team hopes to introduce its revised MP4-17 chassis at the U.S. Grand Prix on Sept. 29.
The modifications mainly concern the rear suspension and gearbox and were tested at length and in private, by Kimi Raikkonen and Alex Wurz at Silverstone last week. McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh said, “The test was one of the best we’ve had all season and we’re working at having the new parts available [for Indy.]”

Frentzen in for Indy
The Sauber F1 team has taken advantage of the latest FIA Sporting Regulation—the first time it has been used. The new rule punishes drivers who incur a penalty in any given race by dropping them 10 grid positions from whatever qualifying position they achieve in the next race.

At Monza, Sauber’s Felipe Massa crashed at more than 200 mph with Pedro de la Rosa’s Jaguar and was handed such a penalty, due to be served at Indy. So team principal Peter Sauber decided the simplest solution would be to drop Massa from the team and replace him with Frentzen.

“The decision of the Monza stewards forced us to think about alternatives,” Sauber said. Frentzen will probably drive the Sauber at the season finale in Japan Oct. 13, and replace Massa full time next year.

Bell to F1?
Townsend Bell couldn’t hold his CART ride with Patrick Racing, but now he’s in pursuit of an F1 ride. He hopes to test with Minardi after the season ends in October, but he’s also talked to any team principal who will listen while attending the past three races. Interestingly, the 27-year-old Californian believes being an American will help him. There has not been a Yank in F1 since Michael Andretti’s partial season with McLaren in 1993.

“The funding comes easier for anybody but an American, but I’m taking the opportunity to demonstrate that I belong here because of my nationality,” he said at Monza. “And I think everyone wants there to be an American in F1 sooner rather than later, so it might as well be me.”

Another Junior steps up
Brazil’s Nelson Piquet Jr. is to follow his father, the former F1 world champion, and head to Europe next year to contest the British Formula 3 championship. Piquet (17) is the points leader of the 2002 SudAm F3 series in South America
 
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