Auto Racing (114)
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. knew he probably didn't have enough fuel to finish. Being in Vegas, he decided to gamble anyway.
And when Earnhardt's tank went bust on the final lap, Brad Keselowski was right there to clean up.
Keselowski surged ahead when Earnhardt ran out of fuel, claiming a dramatic victory Sunday in the NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt's Chevy sputtered and slowed out of the second turn, and Keselowski roared past him on the backstretch in his Penske Ford for the first weekend sweep in his career. Keselowski followed up Saturday's Nationwide Series victory with his first Las Vegas Cup win, doing it in exhilarating fashion against the friend and mentor who gave him his first big break in racing.
"That's what you live for as a driver, at least I do," Keselowski said. "Those moments where you're side by side, and you lay it all out on the racetrack and bring back the car with the tires smoking, engine smoking, and you're worn out inside because you gave it all you had. It was one of those races there at the end."
Keselowski knew all about the fuel shortage faced by Earnhardt and Carl Edwards, who both made their final pit stops about 10 laps before him. So Keselowski decided to force the issue, getting around Edwards and pushing for the lead so Earnhardt would be forced to abandon his conservative, fuel-saving lines.
"I felt like we could run him down," Keselowski said about the driver who put him in his first Nationwide ride. "He was going to have to burn fuel to keep me behind him. At that point, it was just a matter of whether a yellow (flag) came out or not, because it was just a ticking time bomb. It worked in our favor today."
Earnhardt finished second and didn't regret it, secure in his overall position thanks to the new rules in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, which puts increased emphasis on wins. Still, Earnhardt and his Hendrick Motorsports ride were just a few ounces of fuel shy of earning their second victory in three races to start the season.
When Earnhardt sat down for his post-race news conference in front of two cans of his sponsor's energy drink, he picked up one can wistfully: "That's all we needed, just 16 ounces."
The Daytona 500 champion was disappointed, but not discouraged after his spectacular start to the NASCAR season. He also finished second last week at Phoenix.
"We weren't supposed to make it," Earnhardt said. "We were trying to save as much as we can and make it work, but we knew we were short. We wouldn't have finished second if we didn't have that strategy."
Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, virtually assured himself of a spot in the Chase after missing it entirely last season.
"It's just such a reliever for everyone on the team to get that win in early, and be able to enjoy the races and opportunities that we have instead of being stressed out about them," Keselowski said. "You know, I think if anything it actually lends itself to better racing."
Earnhardt also praised NASCAR's new Chase setup, which allowed him to take a fuel gamble in Vegas after winning already this season. Additional wins are worth bonus points in the Chase, while a second-place finish doesn't help his position much - hence the motivation to go for broke on an empty tank.
"I think the new format is definitely is showing it has tons of positives," Earnhardt said. "It's better as far as entertainment for our sport. It gives us freedom, and it's nice to have that freedom to do the things that we did today, even though we knew our odds weren't good. We really shouldn't have made it, and we didn't, but we got to try because of the new system."
With his wife due to give birth at any minute, Paul Menard finished third in his Richard Childress Racing Chevy in front of Keselowski's teammate, pole-sitter Joey Logano. Edwards was fifth in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford, and Earnhardt teammate Jimmie Johnson came in sixth.
The Las Vegas race is the first of 11 on 1.5-mile tracks, and NASCAR spent much of the offseason working on ways to improve the racing on these tracks with a new aerodynamics package and other improvements. The changes resulted in 23 drivers breaking the track speed record during qualifying, but the racing wasn't particularly thrilling until that final lap.
Keselowski and Earnhardt are the only two drivers to finish in the top five in each of the season's first three races, and they dueled down the stretch after Earnhardt passed him for the lead on a restart with 42 laps to go. Earnhardt had gone to the pits on the 211th lap and attempted to stick it out.
Keselowski was in fine form after his third-place finish in Phoenix last week without crew chief Paul Wolfe, who had returned home for his child's birth. Keselowski also finished third at Daytona.
Keselowski is the second driver to win both Vegas races in the same weekend, joining Jeff Burton in 2000.
IndyCar are always trying to find ways to make their sport more exciting and they might have accomplished that goal on Friday with their biggest chip – the Indianapolis 500.
IndyCar announced a new qualifying format for the 98th running of the Indy 500 that would see three rounds of qualifying over two days. On the first day, the fastest 33 cars will move on to the next day. Slots 10-33 would have their earlier times erased and would compete for pole positions from 10-33. The fastest nine from the first day – would then have their own competition to see who gets pole in what they’re calling a “Fast Nine Shootout.”
Every entry for the Indy 500 will get one four-lap attempt in all three rounds of qualification. For the final “Fast Nine Shootout” it appears that the slowest of the nine go out first and aggregate times at the end of the session will determine the order and eventual pole sitter.
There are apparently point incentives as well, but those have yet to be determined.
"This new format includes two exciting days of on-track action, all culminating on Sunday with the Fast Nine Shootout," said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman Motorsports. "Fans get to watch their favourite drivers battle to make the field on Saturday, and then fight for a pole position on Sunday.
The month of May is usually a toned-down month for IndyCar, but with the introduction of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis (a road course) set for earlier in the month and this new entertaining qualifying format for the Indy 500 – IndyCar is hoping to make a big splash for the television audience and in fan attendance.
The Indy 500 qualifying weekend goes from May 17-18 and the race will be run on May 25th.
A new year of IndyCar is upon us and like every year there are a lot of changes. We’re used to seeing plenty of driver shuffling between teams, but for Canadian James Hinchcliffe there’s plenty of change even though he made the commitment to re-up with Andretti Autosport.
For 2014, Hinchcliffe kept the crew intact along with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, but gone are the lime green and black of his marketing machine sponsor GoDaddy, that left IndyCar to concentrate on strictly NASCAR and other ventures. Stepping in will be tech company, United Fiber & Data (UFD) that specialize in fiber networking and broadband solutions. The company was actually founded by three members of the rock band LIVE, so Hinchcliffe might still be able to keep his rock-star image going.
His new livery colours are light blue and white, which Hinchcliffe openly enjoys. It resembles the old colours of the Player’s car back in the days of CART driven by many of his heroes including Jacques Villeneuve, Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier and the late Greg Moore.
The other major change for the entire Andretti Autosport team was the switch from Chevrolet to Honda power. A multi-year engine deal was arranged between the two parties after Chip Ganassi Racing did the reverse switch from Honda to Chevrolet.
Hinchcliffe insists that the Honda switch will not lead to any early season struggles as they get adjusted. He feels that the test sessions have gone well and they’ve seen a steady progression that will have them ready to go when the season begins.
In a smart move by Honda, they approached Hinchcliffe and worked out a one-year partnership agreement to work together to promote the Honda Indy Toronto and the Honda brand as a whole.
“It’s an exciting partnership – they [Honda Canada] support IndyCar in a great way and we are going to use that plus my personality to get people out to the doubleheader race and get them into a Honda dealership on Monday,” said Hinchcliffe.
Hinchcliffe is expected to be in some television spots, events and involved in social media leading up to the Honda Indy Toronto. Afterwards, he mentioned that there could be some marketing plans to work with the promotion of Honda road vehicles. On top of all of that, Hinchcliffe will play a big role in helping to promote the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is the charity the Honda Indy Toronto has supported over a number of years.
Continuity is always a key in auto racing and Hinchcliffe feels that his decision to stay with the team that he was with for his first three race wins was a wise choice to catapult him to the next level.
“All you need to look at is Hunter-Reay,” said Hinchcliffe. “He credits his championship season with staying on the same team and having that foundation to build on.”
Hinchcliffe hopes to do the same when he enters his fourth year in IndyCar. With the core group together and the impressive young-Colombian Carlos Munoz added to the mix – Andretti Autosport is going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.
“My primary goal is to be respected by the guys in the sport that I respect,” Hinchcliffe frankly points out. “I’ve been paying my dues and hopefully we can chip away at it and become genuine title contenders.”
There legitimately are at least 12 drivers that can compete for the championship this year, so why not Hinchcliffe? A lot might be determined based on engine choice, so we will see whether Andretti Autosport made the right decision to go with Honda or Chip Ganassi Racing with Chevrolet.
The IndyCar season starts up on March 30th at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and remember to look for the Mayor of Hinchtown in his new light blue and white race car.
Honda Canada and IndyCar race winner James Hinchcliffe announced earlier today, Thursday 13th February, at the Canadian International Auto Show the formation of a one year partnership that will see ‘Hinch’ working with the brand to promote Honda across Canada.
Hinchcliffe, entering his fourth season as an IndyCar racer and third competing for Andretti Autosport, will feature in various Honda product advertising and promotions throughout the course of 2014.
The Oakville native followed up the announcement with some further thoughts of his own on his relationship with Honda and the forthcoming IndyCar season:
Q: You first raced in IndyCar using a Honda power unit on your way to collecting ‘Rookie of the Year’ honours in 2011 – are you being reunited with an old friend in some ways?
James Hinchcliffe (JH): “In a lot of ways, yeah! Many of the same people within the company that I worked with in 2011 are still there, so it feels like a bit of a homecoming. I’m excited to be able to continue that relationship and I really hope they feel the same about working with me again.”
Q: Your relationship with Honda Canada will see you directly involved in many of the brand’s promotional efforts in your home country – what are you keen to bring to the table to meet their goals?
JH: “Honda Canada has always been great at promotion. I think using me and the tie-in to IndyCar can really help show people that these cars have a lot of the same traits we look for in our race cars; performance, reliability, fuel economy, safety and style.”
Q: You’ll be featured in some of their advertising campaigns! What’s the reaction you get from people seeing you on TV or on billboards? Do you ever get freaked out sitting at home then suddenly you’re on TV looking at yourself?
JH: “It’s definitely weird seeing yourself on TV, especially in a commercial or anything other than an interview! The most common reaction from people - mainly my friends - is something along the lines of “will you please get off my TV so I can go about watching my shows.” I’m constantly apologizing!”
Q: It’s fitting that Honda Canada is the lead sponsor of your home IndyCar event, Honda Indy Toronto – once again a double-header affair in 2014. Does this increase the pressure to get the ‘home’ victory or does it simply make it a sweeter affair if it all comes together on the weekend?
JH: “The last thing I need is MORE pressure in Toronto! But, no, I think it’s great. It makes me even more excited about the race, and for sure it will make me busier during the week. But like you said, it would make a strong result that much better.”
Q: Honda has an impressive array of vehicles – what are we going to see you driving over the next 12 months and just how much of a ‘car guy’ are you really?
JH: “I’m a big car guy! When I was younger - and by that I mean when I was an unemployed racing driver - I had more free time and probably knew more car facts than I do now, but I think as I matured (got a job) I appreciate cars more now. It’s tough to choose from the line up! I really like the Fit, but I’ve also been bombing around in a Pilot for the last week and that’s really grown on me!”
Q: So you’re running a new engine and new sponsor colours in 2014 with the #27 Andretti Autosport entry backed by United Fiber & Data. Has anything else changed in front of, or behind the scenes that you care to share?
JH: “I’m thinking I might even change underwear this season! And that’s not all! I also have a new engineering staff this year. Craig Hampson has taken an R&D role within the team, which will be great for us, and I’ve now got Nathan O’Rourke heading the think tank on the #27 car. It’s been an easy transition so far in testing which makes me confident for the season. And seriously, don’t worry, I change my underwear often.”
Q: You’ve been cramming in a few hometown media activities lately. What’s the secret to being a natural on TV and radio and if you could pick just one TV show to co-host or be a guest on, what would it be and why?
JH: “The secret is to forget that you’re on TV and just have a casual chat with whomever it is that has the unfortunate luck of being on a show with me! I’ve had a blast co-hosting a few shows this past week, but if I had to choose, that’s tough. I want to say Top Gear, because Clarkson is kind of my hero. However, it’s not really outside my comfort zone, if you get what I mean.
“I’d love to host ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’. I watched it all the time as a kid and I got a chance to meet Colin Mochrie last year on OTR and the show just started up again! Those guys are hilarious!”
The 2014 IndyCar Series kicks off on Sunday 30th March with Round 1 hosted in St Petersburg, Florida.
JEREZ, Spain (AP) -- Formula One's sweeping rule changes may be contributing to defending champion Red Bull's dismal start to the preseason. The smaller teams just don't see his troubles transferring into a major shift in the balance of power this season.
F1 decided to overhaul its rulebook after the 2013 season, when Sebastian Vettel paraded his Red Bull to victory in the last nine races to win his fourth consecutive title.
However, team bosses and chief engineers told The Associated Press that the move to more expensive turbo engines, as well as numerous other changes, will only reinforce the dominance of the front-runners who are better equipped to absorb the increased costs and have money left over to spend on other aspects of their vehicles.
Many of those who help run the teams that rarely, if ever, reach the podium expect the gap between the top and bottom to only get bigger.
Williams' chief technical officer, Pat Symonds, said the best way to encourage parity was not through change, but rather by creating "stability" that would level the technological playing field.
"If you stir up the rules to make it economically more difficult, absolutely no, you are not going to make the racing closer," he said.
Symonds spoke to the AP in Williams' hospitality tent pitched at the end of a row of the other teams' luxurious motorhomes at the Jerez track, where preseason testing is being held until Friday.
Symonds joined Williams this season from struggling Marussia to help in what he called a rebuilding of the team, whose ninth and last constructors title came in 1997, last grand prix victory was in 2012, and which earned just five points last year.
"Changing to the 2014 power unit and then running the 2014 power unit is very significantly more expensive than it was prior," Symonds said. "Now that hits the smaller and the mid-sized teams much harder than it does the big teams."
Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley said his team and others agreed.
"The disparity between the teams that are lower down the grid and the ones at the front is also connected to how much you can spend on development," Fernley said. "We are all having to spend roughly 100 million euros ($135.74 million) to go racing; that's to build a car, to go to each of the 19 races. So whatever you've got above that is your development. So if you've got 10 million and Ferrari have got 100 million, there's always going to be a difference."
Besides switching to a 1.6-liter V6 turbo engine from last year's 2.4-liter V8 engine, the rule changes focus on boosting cars' energy recovery systems, and alter their fuel limit, weight, and body.
F1 also decided to award double points to the season's last race to keep the title race alive, and fans and TV audiences interested.
Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul called the double points decision an "artificial" fix to try to increase competition in appearance, while not in reality.
Abiteboul said he supported the move to push innovation in F1 so that it could continue its mission of "preceding the automobile industry."
But he said applying so many changes in one year instead of over two or three hurts smaller teams like Caterham, which didn't win a point in its first two seasons.
For both Fernley and Abiteboul, the new regulations put more importance on the engine manufacturers: Renault (Red Bull's engine maker), Mercedes and Ferrari, who in addition to having their own factory teams, also sell engines to the other eight teams.
For a smaller team "to win a race I think is a little bit extreme," Abiteboul said. "That would really only happen if one of the three engine manufacturers we have this season has a real performance advantage on the other two, firstly, and even if that happens I would expect that the factory team of that engine manufacturer would have an edge."
Although Red Bull has managed just 14 laps through three days of testing due to engine problems, it should still be in fine shape come season end.
The season begins with the Australian Grand Prix on March 16.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona always signals the beginning of the racing season and it started out well for the Action Express Racing team. Joao Barbosa led the No. 5 Corvette car to victory after successful stints throughout the race by his teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais.
Barbosa had to beat out Max Angelelli in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing car in the final eight-plus minutes after a controversial caution to capture the win by 1.461 seconds. The Wayne Taylor Racing team fought a brave race with Angelelli, Wayne Taylor, Wayne’s sons Ricky and Jordan. The yellow flag occurred with 21 minutes to go after a Porsche ran off the track and into a chicane, but the crew worked hard to clean up the track for the race to go green for a long enough stretch at the end.
It was the second Rolex 24 win for the Action Express Racing team after taking their first-ever race in 2010. It was Barbosa’s second overall Rolex 24 win in his last four years, while Fittipaldi earned his second victory a decade removed from his last. It was Bourdais first taste of victory to add to his incredible list of wins throughout his career.
"It took a lot of preparation," Barbosa said. "It's an ongoing process, and I think finally everything is clicking and everything is working really well. This definitely didn't happen overnight and these guys have put in more than 12,000 hours of work since the last race. It's unbelievable what they've done."
Last year’s winner, the No. 01 car from Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates was unable to defend their title after suffering from car problems at the start of the race. And to further Chip Ganassi’s frustration, the No. 02 car driven by Scott Dixon had to deal with a rear flat tire while running in second.
The Rolex 24 was the first race under the Tudor United SportsCar Championship after unifying the American Le Mans Series with the Grand-Am Series.
Other winners for their respective classes were the No. 55 Ferrari 458 car of Pier Guidi after a penalty assessed to him was rescinded after no contact was declared giving him the victory over the No. 45 Audi car of Markus Winkelhock in the GTD class; the No. 54 car of Colin Braun was the top car in the PC Class; and the No. 911 Porsche of Patrick Pilet won in the GTLM class.
There was a scary crash that occurred in the early stages of the race between the No. 99 Corvette of Memo Gidley and the No. 62 Ferrari of Matteo Malucelli. Both drivers were taken straight to the Halifax Health Medical Center, but it was clear that Gidley was in the worse shape. In the end, Gidley was conscious and suffered a broken back and injuries to his left arm and left leg. It could have been much worse and we wish Gidley all the best in his recovery. Malucelli came out of the incident without any major injuries and was released after being assessed.
This is the fourth consecutive year that an IndyCar driver was involved with the overall winning team. Bourdais kept the streak alive after Charlie Kimball (2013), Justin Wilson (2012) and Graham Rahal (2011) had done it before him. There were more than a dozen IndyCar drivers in the field including some Canadian content in Alex Tagliani and James Hinchcliffe.
The next race in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship will be on March 15th at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring; while the 2014 IndyCar season begins March 30th with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Recently, I found myself cruising 34,000 feet above ground in a fully loaded Boeing 737. I was on my way to the SKUSA Super Nationals (Super Nats) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I’ve always wanted to go to the Super Nats, but something has always gotten in the way. This year, while plans were initially made to race in the DD2 category, my academic life got in the way of my dreams of racing. However, that was not going to stop me from at least experiencing the atmosphere and intensity of the event as a spectator.
The Super Nats is no ordinary karting event; it’s wildly regarded as one of the biggest and best events in the world. From IndyCar drivers to European World Champions, they offer the chance for amateur drivers to race against the pros in fair and balanced categories.
Attending the event are world-class drivers from all around the globe. Ages range from small children at the age of seven years old to Indy Car drivers racing in the top categories of KZ2 and DD2.
I arrived at the event early Friday morning and to my surprise, it was pouring buckets of rain. Drivers were seen scrambling to purchase rain tires, some going for as high as $2,000 due to the short supply.
Rain tires weren’t just the only hurdle - excessive water on the track hindered the schedule, causing plenty of delays eventually resulting in pushing the racing to the evening, which could lead to a different kind of havoc.
Night racing in go-karting may not be as bad as it seems. The racetracks are well-lit and provide adequate vision in the fog where you can see the beautiful Vegas skyline. For some of the drivers, the night race can provide a sense of driving Circuit De La Sarthe in the dead of night, as some of the racetrack is driven by memory rather than direct vision.
For many kart racers, this is as close as we will get to driving down Circuit De La Sarthe. Unimaginable costs and an incredibly dedicated schedule mean that any driver would have to virtually give up their regular life in pursuit of a racing career. This would entail lots of travel and virtually impossible and any form of a full-time secondary education would have to be left behind.
But the saving grace for the kart racers is that professional drivers are always looking for some off-season training and kart racing provides them that opportunity. The races are always tight and the battles endless which lead to a lot of exciting action. In the words of the great Ayrton Senna himself: “Karting was pure driving, real racing. And that makes me happy.”
With the heats over and the final groups set a field of 34 drivers were ready for the main event on Sunday. Many competitors were left in the dust and had to say their good byes after not making the final cut into the main event. One of those was NASCAR’s Nelson Piquet Jr., who left after sustaining an injury in the first heat race in an incident on the front straight away.
Sunday brought radical levels of excitement in all classes with the Canadians winning the day. Canadian Ben Cooper (KMS North America) won the DD2 class, followed closely by Canadian DTM driver Robert Wickens (Maranello North America), who eventually took fifth place. Another Canadian Stuart Clark (Maranello North America) took the DD2 masters title.
The checkered flag dropped and my weekend finally came close to a conclusion. The Champagne had been sprayed and the drivers and mechanics raced to the bars and casinos to celebrate the ending of another hard weekend. In reality, however, things were only getting started with a lot of action behind-the-scenes.
For the drivers another year of memories goes back with them on their travels home. The Super Nats are done for and now it’s time for the kart racers to watch their favourite professionals work their magic in their respective sport, but like always, they will all come together once again to share the grid in late 2014. Regardless of who you are, karting is a part of a racers makeup and you don’t need a filled stands to have the closest and best kind of racing and most of all a great time. That’s the way karting should be.
ALBERTVILLE, France (AP) -- Two minutes of footage from a camera on Michael Schumacher's ski helmet showed the Formula One great was clearly skiing off a groomed trail when he lost his balance and crashed, leaving him with critical head injuries, investigators said Wednesday.
The investigators said they have ruled out problems with his skis, trail conditions or signage. Although they would not estimate Schumacher's speed, they said it was not considered a significant factor in the Dec. 29 crash at Meribel in the French Alps.
"His pace was completely normal for a skilled skier," said Lt. Col. Benoit Vinneman.
Schumacher, 45, the most successful Formula One driver in history, is still in critical condition in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble. The impact of the crash split his helmet in two and doctors say the protective gear saved his life.
Prosecutor Patrick Quincy said experts still need to go through the footage image by image, but he said Schumacher landed 9 meters (30 feet) outside the marked trail after falling face down and striking his head on a rock.
Schumacher had been on a family vacation in Meribel, where he owns a chalet.
"Michael Schumacher is a good skier who knows Meribel," Quincy said.
Skiers and snowboarders continue to use the zone where Schumacher crashed, but say they know they need to be careful.
British tourist Steve Bovill said he always wears a helmet. Speaking from the sunny mountainside, he said, "It was an accident that could have happened to anyone."
Quincy said the investigation, which is standard after any major skiing accident, had no deadline and was intended to discover what happened, not necessarily fix blame. Without specifying, he said authorities plan to interview more witnesses.
Schumacher's 14-year-old son Mick was also skiing in their small group
Quincy said investigators would call in experts to review the footage from Schumacher's helmet cam.
The cameras, which count snowboarder Shaun White and skier Lindsey Vonn among their promoters, have become increasingly popular in adventure sports.
They generally mount on the outside of the helmet or elsewhere on the body and, as investigators pointed out in the Schumacher case, tend to have a fairly narrow field of vision.
Footage from the devices has been used in investigations before, including the deaths of two Icelandic skydivers killed in Florida last year. In that case, the footage showed that one of the skydivers had tried to save the second just before they both died.
GRENOBLE, France (AP) -- Doctors treating Michael Schumacher refused Monday to predict an outcome for the seven-time Formula One champion, saying they were taking his critical head injury "hour by hour" following a skiing accident.
Chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen told reporters that Schumacher was still in a medically induced coma and doctors were focusing only on his current condition.
"We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher," said Payen, who is also in charge of Grenoble University Hospital's intensive-care unit.
"He is in a critical state in terms of cerebral resuscitation," he added. "We are working hour by hour."
Schumacher, the most successful driver in Formula One history, arrived at the Grenoble hospital a day earlier already in a coma and immediately underwent brain surgery.
The German driver was skiing with his son Sunday morning in the French Alpine resort of Meribel when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock. He was wearing a helmet, but doctors said it was not enough to prevent a serious brain injury.
Gerard Saillant, a trauma surgeon who operated on Schumacher when he broke his leg in a 1999 race crash, was at the hospital as a visitor. He told reporters that Schumacher's age - he turns 45 on Jan. 3 - and his fitness should work in his favor.
But the Grenoble medical team was being very cautious about Schumacher's prognosis. Working to relieve the pressure on his brain, they lowered his body temperature to between 34 and 35 degrees Celsius (93.2 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) as part of the medically induced coma.
The neurology team at Grenoble University Hospital is recognized as among the best in France and the hospital, in a city that is the gateway to the French Alps, sees a large number of skiing accidents every year.
Schumacher has been seriously hurt before. He broke his leg in a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999. He also suffered serious neck and spine injuries after a motorcycling accident in February 2009 in Spain.
The area where Schumacher was skiing is part of a web of trails that slice down through a vast and, in parts, very steep snowfield. Although challenging, the snowfield is not extreme skiing. The runs are broad and neatly tended, and the ungroomed area in between, known as off-piste - where the resort said Schumacher was found - is free of trees.
The resort said Schumacher was conscious when first responders arrived, although agitated and in shock. But Payen said Monday that after the fall Schumacher was not in a "normal state of consciousness." He was not responding to questions and his limbs appeared to be moving involuntarily.
He was airlifted to a local hospital and then later brought to Grenoble. Doctors said that stopover was typical and did not affect his condition.
His wife and other family members were by his bedside.
"The family is not doing very well obviously. They are shocked," said his manager Sabine Kehm, who added that the family still appreciated the outpouring of support.
The French prosecutor in Albertville has opened an investigation into the accident, according to the Mountain Gendarmerie in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, which will participate in the probe. The goal is to determine the circumstances of the accident and what was responsible for it.
Formula One drivers and fans rushed to wish Schumacher a quick recovery.
"Like millions of Germans, the chancellor and members of the government were extremely dismayed when they heard about Michael Schumacher's serious skiing accident," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in Berlin.
Sebastian Vettel, for whom Schumacher was a boyhood idol, told German news agency dpa: "I am shocked and hope that he will get better as soon as possible."
Ferrari, which Schumacher raced for, expressed its concern in a statement.
"Everyone at Ferrari has been in a state of anxiety since hearing about Michael Schumacher's accident," it said, adding that company president, Luca di Montezemolo, and race team leader, Stefano Domenicali, were in contact with the family.
British former world racing champion Jenson Button said posted that his "thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time. ... Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this."
During his career, Schumacher won seven drivers' championships and 91 race wins. After initial success with the Benetton team, Schumacher moved to Ferrari and helped turn the Italian team into the sport's dominant force. After initially retiring in 2006, he made a comeback in 2010 and raced for three years with Mercedes.
DiLorenzo reported from Paris. Lori Hinnant in Paris, Geir Moulson in Berlin, AP Sports Writer John Leicester in Super-Besse, France, and Deborah Gouffran and Milos Krivokapic in Grenoble contributed to this report.
The new Formula One schedule has been released with many of the main cities and countries represented. One race that was left off for yet another year was the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey.
Plenty of talk has surrounded the race since it was first announced in October of 2011, but each year financial hurdles have led to its postponement. It was originally talked about for the 2013 season, but it made sense to have another year of planning with an aim for the 2014 season. Now that the 2014 season is being postponed until 2015 – questions and uncertainty cloud the New Jersey race.
The 2014 postponement was due to a local sponsor having trouble coming up with more than the $100 million needed for the event. Financial restructuring is in the works to land a second U.S. race on the Formula One schedule and they’re determined to make this happen.
If the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey is to go off it would run on a 3.2-mile street circuit through the towns of Weehawken and West New York. Driving through those towns will create a beautiful backdrop of the New York City skyline.
The 2014 Formula One schedule will start in Melbourne, Australia on March 16th, race in Montreal on June 8th, head to Austin, Texas for November 2nd and end in Abu Dhabi on November 23rd.