ec: So basically BMW is protecting the customer base.
AZ: Exactly. What they are asking is the FIA to write new rules that would keep the diesel competitive so it would still be a choice for manufacturers to pursue. But it would not be mandatory if you want to win. This is basically what is happening right now. We've been under the impression all year long that SEAT kept the performance of the their car lower than they could have, not to impress too much. To use it just when it's needed. And now that we're getting near the end of the championship, it is just a rocket. That kind of proved the BMW theory. We've got a little bit of fog on the issue right now, but I'm confident that they will find an agreement. I already have an existing deal with BMW Italy and Team BMW Italy-Spain.
ec: Do you still follow other forms of motorsport?
AZ: Oh yeah. Never forget that before I'm a driver, I'm a race fan. I was just very, very lucky to be able to turn this into a profession. I love motor racing and for sure, every time I switch a TV on, if there's a race, I watch it.
Happenings in the world of motorsport
Formula One: This season has been torpedoed by the sexscapades of FIA Boss, Max Mosley, and ridiculous officiating by certain stewards whose judgement and mental capabilities has not only been called out but the ongoing damage to the FIA which only gives ammo to those who see Ferrari complicity behind every move. The episode at Spa will remain a topic long after this season is over. Lewis Hamilton, whose McLaren was in a tight on-track battle with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, overshot a chicane and came out ahead. Having gained an unfair position, Hamilton correctly backed off to give the Ferrari the lead again and then make the pass the proper way. Hamilton won, the podium show went on and most went home happy. Not quite; after the race was over, the stewards slapped a 25-second penalty on Hamilton, wiping out his win. McLaren immediately filed an appeal, which as usual took weeks to get anywhere. The FIA International Court of Appeal ignored the apparent facts and refused to let McLaren to proceed.
Grand American: NASCAR has effectively taken over the Grand Am series, not that this is any surprise to those who followed the circus since it's inception. The shell that Grand Am operated under has always been a mystery of sorts. The fans certainly didn't embrace the series, even with guest appearances by NASCAR drivers.In a tight economy where even top NASCAR teams are watching the budgets, it's difficult to see how the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) will devote anything worthwhile to anything other than their top moneymaker. The previous investors in Grand Am have lost money and there really isn't anything in the current structure that will generate revenue for the ISC. Oddly enough, Grand Am is very popular with the entrants, who really don't seem to care if anybody is watching or attends. Notice I said entrants-how the sponsors feel is another matter entirely. One thing's for sure: there haven't been any cars on the grid lately sponsored by mortgage firms.
American Le Mans Series: The most interesting news out of the ALMS comes from GM and its plans for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Give them credit for being optimistic as we ride out the financial crisis. A recent announcement will have the Corvettes that compete and largely fill the GT1 category campaigning in only three events next season as Pratt & Miller develop the new GT2 Corvette that will go head to head against Porsche and Ferrari. The plan is to contest a few GT2 events as a factory squad and then offer cars to private teams. The Pratt brats are very capable and there's no reason to doubt that they will be successful with the new Vette.