Four top carmakers plan to split from Formula One and launch a rival open-wheel Grand Prix racing series by 2008.

The group -- which comprises BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ferrari and Renault, and is known collectively as the Grand Prix World Championship consortium -- made the announcement yesterday. They had been seeking a bigger share of F1's revenues and said the new series will "maintain the strengths of Formula One, while eliminating its weaknesses."

GPWC was formed in 2001 and since then has been pushing for a bigger share of F1's estimated annual income of $810 million. The carmakers had previously threatened to establish a rival series starting in 2007, then called off the plans after a preliminary deal was reached with F1's commercial arm in December 2003. But GPWC accused the F1 agency of failing to comply with the terms of the agreement. The group broke off talks in April and resumed plans for its own circuit.

* COURTS: Two former New York Yankees players who allegedly assaulted a Fenway Park groundskeeper during the 2003 American League Championship Series agreed to a deal that calls for the charges against them to be dropped in six months. Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia agreed to pretrial probation at a hearing in Boston. The players will perform 50 hours of community service and be evaluated to determine whether they need to attend an anger management program.

* HORSE RACING: Azeri will try to beat the boys again, this time in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic. Trainer Wayne Lukas made the surprise announcement, declaring 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri "all in" for the 11/4-mile Classic on Saturday. Azeri was pre-entered in the BC Distaff and the BC Classic last week, and it was thought Lukas was leaning toward running the 6-year-old mare in the Distaff, which she won in 2002 but missed last year with an injury.

* COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Northwestern Coach Randy Walker has an inflammation of the heart muscle and was hospitalized for a second day. Walker, 50, experienced chest pains before his weekly news conference on Monday. Tests showed his heart is fine.

* TENNIS: Top-ranked Roger Federer withdrew from the Swiss Indoors after hurting his left thigh, putting in doubt whether he'll play in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup.

-- From News Services