* Richard Branson made a rare F1 appearance at Monza, as a guest of Force India. But it was nothing to do with a shared passion for F1 with fellow airline owner and team boss Vijay Mallya. In fact he was present because the team’s Dutch co-owner Michiel Mol has pre-booked a ticket on a Virgin space flight…
* On race morning at Monza Max Mosley joined a number of veteran F1 personalities who attended a ceremony at the start/finish line to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Ronnie Peterson. Alas, while the Swede’s contemporaries Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi were both at the track, neither was able to make it on time.
* McLaren has confirmed that veteran race engineer Steve Hallam is to leave the team at the end of the season, having joined from Lotus in the Senna era in 1990. Hallam’s surprise future role will be the very different challenge of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup.
* ESPN Star Sports has completed a deal to continue broadcasting the sport exclusively in Asia for the next five years. The deal means ESS can air F1 on TV, radio, the Internet and mobile phones in 24 markets across Asia, including India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.
* McLaren Electronic Systems, which supplies all three NASCAR championships with mechanical components, has announced the launch of a new North American subsidiary: McLaren Electronics Inc. The US arm of the British-based company will extend its infrastructure and offer increased support to customers.
* Frank Williams has been awarded the Tom Wheatcroft Trophy, which has previously been given to Murray Walker, Sid Watkins and Bernie Ecclestone. The award was established in 2002 to recognise special contributions to motor sport.
* The Super Aguri SA06 F1 car sold for £85,000 during the online auction of the team’s assets is returning ‘home’. The ex-Takuma Sato car, minus the engine and gearbox, was purchased by a Japanese buyer.