Motorsport Week - All News https://www.motorsportweek.com Catch up on all F1 news, here at Motorsport Week RSS Feed! https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14410https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14410Sebastien Bourdais surprised with qualifying result at BarberSun, 23 Apr 2017 14:39:46 GMT<p><strong>Sebastien Bourdais has explained how he was surprised to even progress to the second round of qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with the Frenchman continuing to struggle around the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Despite leading the championship after a productive start to the 2017 season, Bourdais has failed to trouble the top of the order throughout the weekend so far.</p> <p>After progressing to the second round of qualifying Bourdais continued to struggle and eventually elected to conserve his alternate red sticker Firestone tyres for the race, as he was out-qualified by rookie team-mate Ed Jones.</p> <p>&quot;We made some major changes to the car but they didn&#39;t work,&rdquo; explained Bourdais, who won the season-opener at St. Petersburg.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;There&#39;s something missing and we&#39;re just not quite understanding what it is.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Quite truthfully to make it into the fast 12 was a big surprise with the understeer we had.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Using another set of reds didn&#39;t feel like the right thing to do to maybe get a better lap time, so we kept a new set for tomorrow and used the same reds we ran in round one.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We figured it was best to swallow the pill today and hope for a better day tomorrow with two brand new sets of Firestone reds.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;re scratching our heads but we&#39;ll keep working and see what we can do.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to the weekend Bourdais stipulated that he would not let his lead in the championship detract from his preparations for the race weekend.</p> <p>Due to his success at St. Petersburg and Long Beach the four-time champion is 19 points clear of James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>&ldquo;As I&#39;ve said before, some weekends we&#39;ll get it and some weekends we won&#39;t, but we&#39;ll keep on trying and not give up,&rdquo; concluded Bourdais.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14409https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14409Pier Guidi flyer puts Ferrari on pole at MonzaSun, 23 Apr 2017 09:57:53 GMT<p><strong>A late flying lap by Alessandro Pier Guidi put Ferrari on pole for the opening round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza.</strong></p> <p>Driving the 488 GT3 entered by AF Corse, Pier Guidi reeled off a time of 1:47.423s to secure the top spot in the third and final 10-minute qualifying session.</p> <p>The Ferrari factory GT driver will share the #50 car with Pasin Lathouras and Michele Rugolo during Sunday afternoon&#39;s three-hour contest.</p> <p>Joining Pier Guidi on the front row of the grid will be the Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan, qualified by Norbert Siedler.</p> <p>A 1:47.485s effort from Siedler - again during Q3 when fuel levels were at their lowest - prevented a Ferrari one-two by forging a split between Pier Guidi&#39;s time and that of Davide Rigon in the SMP Racing 488 GT3 shared with Viktor Shaitar and Miguel Molina.</p> <p>Rigon, who like Pier Guidi is part of Ferrari&#39;s factory driver lineup in the World Endurance Championship, fell 0.025 seconds short of Siedler who in turn was 0.062 seconds from snatching pole.</p> <p>Completing the second row of the grid will be the all-British M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Steven Kane/Oliver Jarvis/Guy Smith.</p> <p>Row three is made of up of the Mirko Bortolotti/Andrea Caldarelli/Christian Engelhart Lamborghini (Grasser Racing) and the Matt Parry/Struan Moore/Matt Simmons Nissan GT-R (Team RJN).</p> <p>Pole position in Pro/Am went to the Aston Martin crew of Oman Racing, thanks to a 1:47.807s flyer from works driver Jonny Adam.</p> <p>Adam qualified seventh overall in the Vantage V12 he shares with Ahmad Al-Harthy.</p> <p>A major incident at the start of qualifying involving the #66 Attempto Racing Lamborghini and the #2 WRT Racing Audi R8 LMS prevented both cars from taking part in the session.</p> <p>At the start of the first flying lap Luca Filippi, who was driving the Lamborghini, locked up and caught the rear of Nathanael Berthon on&nbsp;the run into turn one.</p> <p>The ensuing contact ripped off the front-end of the Huracan, whilst Berthon was forced to withdraw the Audi he shares with Benoit Treluyer and Stephane Richelmi from the remainder of qualifying.</p> <p>Both drivers walked away from the incident unscathed, but equally both teams face a race against time to get ready for the three-hour race which starts at 14:45 local time.</p> <p>Strakka Racing&#39;s McLaren 650S that was involved in a crash during free practice will start 40th after mechanics stayed up until half&nbsp;six in the morning to make repairs.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14408https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14408Marc Marquez beats Maverick Vinales to GP of Americas pole positionSun, 23 Apr 2017 00:50:22 GMT<p>Honda&#39;s Marc Marquez took&nbsp;a signature last dash pole position for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, putting in another stunner at COTA as he pulled out an ace on his final lap to take it back from key rival Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales of Yamaha.</p> <p>Vi&ntilde;ales&rsquo; team-mate Valentino Rossi was another on a late charge, shooting up into third to complete an incredible front row.</p> <p>Marquez&#39;s Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa heads up the second row at a venue that has seen him on the podium twice, with Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech3) once again top rookie in another impressive performance to line up P5.</p> <p>Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) progressed from Q1 in Austin for the first time since moving to the Borgo Panigale factory, and the five-time World Champion had an impressive Q2 session &ndash; lining up in P6 on the second row, and just out-qualifying team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.</p> <p>Jonas Folger (Yamaha Tech3) looks to keep his points lead in the fight for Rookie of the Year from P8, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) just behind in ninth after a crash. Compatriot Scott Redding (Pramac) completes the top ten.</p> <p>There were also crashes for Jack Miller (Marc VDS) and Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) in the session, with the two men set to line up in P11 and P12 respectively.</p> <p>From Q1 laptimes, the top fifteen is completed by Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) and Reale Avintia Racing duo Loris Baz and Hector Barbera.</p> <p>Vi&ntilde;ales vs Marquez vs Vi&ntilde;ales vs Marquez&hellip;qualifying at COTA should whet appetites well for Sunday&rsquo;s 14:00 (GMT -5) race, with the two men seemingly set for a showdown.</p> <p><a href="http://www.motogp.com/en/Results+Statistics/2017/AME/MotoGP/Q2">Click here for full results.</a></p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14407https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14407Getting Technical: A look at Force India's Bahrain bargeboardsSun, 23 Apr 2017 00:38:12 GMT<p>Force India brought a host of new parts to Bahrain which are aimed at reducing the VJM10&rsquo;s weight and bolstering its aerodynamic performance.&nbsp;</p> <p>The team have a solid reputation for rapidly improving their car during the mid-season before their budget eventually runs dry towards the end of the year, so seeing developments from them at this stage is encouraging for what should be a great fight with Williams and Renault.</p> <p>Having identified that the bargeboard region has a lot of potential in 2017, the team have wasted no time in optimising their existing concept by adding a series of serrations to both the primary bargeboard [highlighted yellow below] and also the triangular section of floor behind [see arrows below].&nbsp;</p> <p>Ten (yes, 10) aerofoil elements are staggered along the top of the main bargeboard, allowing the air to filter between both sides of the vane and entwine to form a spiralling torrent of airflow.&nbsp;</p> <p>The board&rsquo;s trailing edge sits on the axe head part of the floor and is set quite far forward from the sidepod, which means the air has to be worked with in a much&nbsp;shorter space.&nbsp;</p> <p>Introducing more slots helps turn the airflow around the sidepod more sharply as the low pressure region behind the board is less likely to separate.&nbsp;Although holes are allowed in the floor ahead of the sidepod this year, Force India have opted to serrate the periphery of the exposed triangular section. The lipped surface around each serration encourages the air to dive underneath the car and mingle with the high velocity stream. This area of the floor is critical to the car&rsquo;s centre of pressure as there is a concentration of lowpressure that must be managed carefully. The floor serrations and indeed the revised bargeboards will help reduce disturbances across a wide flow speed range.</p> <p><img alt="" height="800" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Features/vjm10-barge.jpg" width="800" /></p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14406https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14406Will Power secures Barber pole as Penske dominates qualifyingSat, 22 Apr 2017 21:43:27 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has secured pole position for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, as Penske once again dominated proceedings to create a 1-2-3 lock-out at the top.</strong></p> <p>Despite ominous cloud cover throughout the day the rain managed to hold off for the all-important qualifying session, allowing a dry session to be completed around the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>Although Honda-powered cars ended their respective groups fastest in the first round of qualifying, it was Penske who shone during round two and the all-important Firestone Fast Six as Chevrolet-power once again shone in qualifying.</p> <p>Power will start the 90-lap race alongside team-mate and Long Beach pole winner Helio Castroneves, after the Brazilian racer completed a late improvement to rise ahead of reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>The Frenchman will still start the race from P3, after making a slight mistake on his final lap and running wide on the exit of Turn 5.</p> <p>Scott Dixon ended qualifying as the fastest Honda-powered driver in fourth, with the four-time champion unable to question Penske&rsquo;s authority at the top despite ending his group fastest in round one.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay and Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe complete the third row of the grid, with all three Honda-powered cars opting to complete just one flying lap in the Firestone Fast Six.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was the only Penske driver unable to progress into the Firestone Fast Six, with the 2015 Barber race winner forced to settle for seventh.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin&rsquo;s competitiveness continued throughout qualifying, with the Russian racer set to start from P8, alongside Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Max Chilton.</p> <p>The former Formula 1 racer steadily improved throughout the day, after a troubled start to the weekend which resulted in a spin in practice two on Friday.</p> <p>Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan rounded out the top ten, just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing&rsquo;s Ed Jones.</p> <p>The rookie, who has finished the opening two races in the top ten, has continued to look impressive and managed to out-qualify championship leader Sebastian Bourdais who was forced to settle for a lowly P12.</p> <p>However, the four-time champion is no stranger to rising through the order.&nbsp;</p> <p>Both in St. Petersburg and Long Beach Bourdais rose through the order to finish in the top two, and will be looking at such silver linings after qualifying at Barber.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14405https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14405Rigon Ferrari leads Monza pre-qualifying sessionSat, 22 Apr 2017 18:35:07 GMT<p><strong>Ferrari factory GT ace Davide Rigon led the second of two 90-minute free practice sessions ahead of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup opening round&nbsp;at Monza.</strong></p> <p>Rigon, who this year shares an SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 with Viktor Shaitar and DTM expat Miguel Molina, turned in a time of 1:48.381s to head the Saturday afternoon run.</p> <p>The Italian narrowly edged out Steven Kane, who for much of the session held the top spot with the #7 works Bentley Continental GT3.</p> <p>Kane&#39;s effort settled the Bentley&nbsp;0.011 seconds off the overall pace, with Alessandro Pier Guidi making it two Ferrari factory stars in the top three behind the wheel of the Spirit of Race/AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3.</p> <p>Completing the top five was the best-placed Audi R8 LMS entered by WRT, followed by the Orange Team Lazarus Lamborghini Huracan GT3.</p> <p>Heading up the Pro/Am category charts was Audi works driver Christopher Haase in the Sainteloc Racing R8 LMS. The German&#39;s time of1:48.736s placed him seventh overall at the close of play.</p> <p>As in the morning run, the field was closely bunched with the top 28 cars lapping to within a second of Rigon&#39;s marker.</p> <p>However, unlike the red-flag affected morning run&nbsp;the&nbsp;second Monza free practice session passed without a major stoppage, although a few cars did pick up damage in separate incidents.</p> <p>The yellow flags were brought out early on when Niek Hommerson slid backwards into the gravel at Parabolica, whilst Kevin Ceccon damaged the Zakspeed Mercedes AMG-GT3 when he hit the barriers at Ascari.</p> <p>Qualifying for the Monza 3 Hours takes place tomorrow morning at 09:50.</p> <p>The race itself gets underway later on at 14:45 (both times local).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14404https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14404Will Power leads Penske 1-2-3 in final practice at BarberSat, 22 Apr 2017 17:02:15 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has led a Penske 1-2-3 in practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, as preparations intensify ahead of qualifying later in the day.</strong></p> <p>Despite the threat of rain lingering over the picturesque Barber Motorsports Park, the final session got underway in dry and overcast conditions.</p> <p>Chevrolet&rsquo;s competitive start to the weekend continued with renewed gusto during the 45-minute session, with Power ending proceedings ahead of Penske team-mate&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin prevented the final Penske of Simon Pagenaud from creating a top four lock-out, with the Russian racer ending the session P4 ahead of the reigning champion.</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe enjoyed an improved session in comparison to practice on Friday, initially running as high as P2 during the middle of the session before settling for P6 once the Penske drivers began improving.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon was seventh fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, despite producing the initial benchmark at the start of the session.</p> <p>Marco Andretti managed to remain relatively competitive throughout the final session, coming home only just behind Dixon in P8.</p> <p>Graham Rahal and Max Chilton rounded out the top ten, with both drivers seeking improvements following a tough start to their respective weekends.</p> <p>The session ran relatively incident-free with no red flag delays, however Ryan Hunter-Reay managed a minor spin at Turn 14 after running rather wide onto the dirt and subsequently losing control of his Andretti Autosport machine.</p> <p>Further down the order rookie Zach Veach managed to lift himself off the bottom of the classification for the first time, eventually ending the session P20 ahead of Conor Daly who suffered a mechanical issue during the early stages of the session.</p> <p>Although Penske look strong at the top of the order, lower temperatures in comparison to Friday and the chance of rain later in the day could potentially ruin their fun around the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14403https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14403Will Power ‘excited’ ahead of qualifying for Alabama GPSat, 22 Apr 2017 12:55:58 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has expressed excitement ahead of qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, after Penske enjoyed a productive day of practice.</strong></p> <p>While many drivers struggled significantly with setup and balance issues, including championship leader Sebastien Bourdais and Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe, the Penske drivers wasted no time in rising to the top of the classification.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the opening practice session reigning champion Simon Pagenaud managed to end proceedings fastest as the Chevrolet-powered Penske team locked-out the top four positions.</p> <p>Although Marco Andretti managed to disrupt Penske&rsquo;s dominance in the second practice session, the outfit were still extremely competitive will Power, Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves all just behind Andretti.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;m pretty excited about qualifying at Barber after the two practice sessions,&rdquo; enthused Power, who has won the race on two occasions.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We had podium finishes in both sessions and we&#39;re feeling strong.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The Chevy has performed really well and we think we have the machine to help us make a strong showing in qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite Chevrolet&rsquo;s recent lack of success on race day this season, the manufacturer has still secured pole position with Penske at the opening two race weekends at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.</p> <p>With Chevrolet and Penske in particular looking likely to be a strong contender for pole position once again, the big question is whether they can translate such one-lap dominance into race victory.</p> <p>Although Penske were the fastest Chevrolet-powered team during practice, other Chevrolet-powered teams such as A.J. Foyt Racing were also encouraged after the two sessions.</p> <p>&quot;We made a lot of progress compared to the test,&rdquo; explained Carlos Munoz, who ended both sessions just outside the top ten.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We are much more competitive.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone is really close to each other in the lap times but I feel really competitive.&quot;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14402https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14402ISR Audi tops Monza endurance practice as Strakka Racing hits troubleSat, 22 Apr 2017 12:46:54 GMT<p><strong>Clemens Schmid topped the timesheets during the main free practice session for this weekend&#39;s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup opener at Monza.</strong></p> <p>Schmid, driving the #75 ISR Racing Audi R8 LMS, clocked a 1:47.858s&nbsp;time around the 3.6 mile circuit to lead the 90-minute Saturday morning run.</p> <p>The German driver will share the car with Frank Stippler and Filip Salaquarda&nbsp;during Sunday&#39;s three-hour contest.</p> <p>Second quickest was Christopher Haase, who turned in a 1:48.229s time&nbsp;behind the wheel of the Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS.</p> <p>That put a gap of 0.317 seconds between the two leading Audis, with 25 other cars lapping to within a second of the overall pace.</p> <p>Rounding out the top five were Christian Engelhart (Grassser Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3), Will Stevens (#5 WRT Audi R8 LMS) and Louis Machiels (Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3).</p> <p><strong>Result: Blancpain GT Monza 3 Hours Practice</strong></p> <p>The session was interrupted early on when Nick Leventis&#39; McLaren&nbsp;made heavy contact with the armco barrier at Variante Ascari.</p> <p>Leventis was uninjured in the crash, which saw his McLaren 650S GT3 lose its entire front end and the red flags brought out for 13 minutes.</p> <p>The Strakka Racing mechanics now face a rush get a spare car ready for qualifying, which takes place tomorrow morning at 09:50 local time.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14401https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14401Warm conditions result in setup issues during Barber practiceSat, 22 Apr 2017 11:41:23 GMT<p><strong>A number of drivers were held back with their setup during the opening two practice sessions for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama around the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Although the entire field took part in an open test at the venue back in March, the warmer conditions experienced during practice created many headaches up and down the paddock.</p> <p>During the two sessions there were three red flag delays, all for minor mistakes. However, almost half of the field reported issues with regards to grip levels and their setup after the day&rsquo;s action.</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe could only manage P8 and P16 respectively in the first two practice sessions of the weekend, reporting balance issues in particular during the second session.</p> <p>&quot;Pretty rough day for us to be honest,&rdquo; explained Hinchcliffe.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We just seemed to miss the balance, especially in the afternoon as the track got hotter.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&#39;t think we maximised our new tyre runs, but the balance was never exactly where the crew wanted it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We certainly have our work cut out for us because the field is very close, as it always is, and being a couple tenths off is going to put you a few rows back.&rdquo;</p> <p>Even Chip Ganassi Racing struggled somewhat throughout the day, with four-time champion Scott Dixon ending practice one off the pace in P10.</p> <p>Meanwhile Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan seemed to struggle even more, ending the two sessions P18 and P11 respectively.</p> <p>&quot;We really struggled out there to find grip,&rdquo; said Kanaan.</p> <p>&ldquo;It didn&#39;t help that it was so much hotter today than it was when we tested here a month ago.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m definitely not happy with where we were, but I&#39;m feeling good about the direction we need to go to get the car quick for qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais was one of the many drivers who also struggled during practice, causing one of the three red flag delays across the two sessions.</p> <p>In practice one the Frenchman ran wide at Turn 1 and collected an advertising board, before stopping at Turn 5 to allow the Holmatro safety team to remove it from the front of the car.</p> <p>&quot;It was a tough day,&rdquo; lamented Bourdais, who sits 19 points clear at the top of the championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s something I&#39;m not putting my finger on and I&#39;m struggling to understand and explain what the car is doing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I just seem to have a tough time to make sense of everything.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a weird day.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ominously the Chevrolet-powered Penske cars enjoyed a productive day of track action, with Simon Pagenaud ending the first session fastest overall.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14400https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14400Montreal makes safety changes to accommodate faster 2017 carsSat, 22 Apr 2017 03:11:54 GMT<p>The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has confirmed it will make a host of safety changes to accommodate the new faster 2017 cars for this year&#39;s Canadian Grand Prix in June.</p> <p>Whilst almost all the circuits on the calendar have been told to make some minor modifications, the&nbsp;Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has been singled out as one of the most heavily revised due to its high-speed nature and the proximity of the walls and barriers.</p> <p>More than 5,000 tyres will be replaced with TechPro barriers around the circuit, most notably at Turns 1 and 2, as well as the hairpin.</p> <p>Turn 5 will see &#39;Safer Barrier&#39; technology, currently used in NASCAR, replacing the metal barrier that currently lines the circuit.</p> <p>Whilst there will be no changes to the circuit, gravel traps at Turns 8 and 9 will be replaced with ashpalt to &quot;give the drivers a better opportunity to get back on track and continue the race,&quot; a circuit spokesperson confirmed to&nbsp;<em>Motorsport Week.</em></p> <p>Turns 13 and 14, an area more widely known as the &#39;Wall of Champions&#39;, will also see changes, with the angle modified and the indentation removed. Circuit organisers promise it will have &quot;little to no effect&quot; on how the drivers take the corner.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14399https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14399Marco Andretti fastest in action-packed second practice at BarberFri, 21 Apr 2017 21:30:04 GMT<p><strong>Marco Andretti has ended the second practice session ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama fastest, after an action-packed afternoon at the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Despite the threat of showers later in the day, the session took place in dry and overcast conditions, with the drivers once again wasting no time in taking to the scenic track.</p> <p>Andretti&rsquo;s overall fastest lap time was completed during the latter stages of the session, enabling the Honda-powered racer to end proceedings just ahead of Penske&rsquo;s Will Power.</p> <p>The Australian racer spent the majority of the session at the sharp end of the order, trading places at the top with Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud who eventually ended the session P3.</p> <p>The reigning champion finished practice one earlier in the day fastest overall, and was eager to continue with his preparations for the weekend ahead.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was fourth for Penske, with the Chevrolet-powered cars looking extremely competitive after the first two practice sessions.</p> <p>After the opening two races of the season Honda has had the initial advantage, with the Chevrolet-powered teams understandably keen for a change of fortune at Barber.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon managed to improve on his pace from practice one, ending the session P5 after initially sitting at the top during the early stages.</p> <p>Charlie Kimball and Mikhail Aleshin were sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of Josef Newgarden in the Penske.</p> <p>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais could only manage P9 for Dale Coyne Racing, ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay who rounded out the top ten.</p> <p>The 2012 champion was lucky to escape with minimal front-wing damage during the latter stages of the session, after he ran extensively wide at Turn 2 and lightly tapped the barrier.</p> <p>However, Hunter-Reay&rsquo;s mistake did not result in a red flag delay. The same cannot be said for Max Chilton and rookie Ed Jones.</p> <p>Only several minutes into the session Chilton spun at Turn 14, importantly avoiding the barrier but stalling and therefore requiring assistance.</p> <p>Meanwhile Jones was involved in a similar mishap at Turn 5, spinning and stalling to create a momentary red flag delay.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14398https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14398Simon Pagenaud sets the pace at Barber in FP1Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:55:56 GMT<p><strong>Simon Pagenaud has set the pace after the opening practice session ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>After proceedings at the picturesque circuit were delayed by an hour due to necessary repairs to an ARMCO barrier, the entire field were understandably quick to begin their preparations for the weekend ahead.</p> <p>Pagenaud eventually ended the session ahead of Penske team-mate&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden and Will Power, the latter completing his fastest time in the final seconds of the session.&nbsp;</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was forced to settle for P4 after Power&rsquo;s late improvement, with Chevrolet locking out the top four positions.</p> <p>After a strong start to the season for Honda, the Chevrolet-powered teams will be naturally eager to return to the top come race day.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi was the highest classified Honda-powered driver in fifth position, with the former Formula 1 racer still hunting for his second race victory in IndyCar.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay came home P6 for Andretti Autosport, just ahead of Graham Rahal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe was eighth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, ending the session ahead of championship leader Sebastien Bourdais.</p> <p>The Frenchman, who sits 19 points clear of Hinchcliffe in the drivers&rsquo; championship, created the only red flag delay in comical fashion after he ran wide at Turn 1 and collected an advertising board.</p> <p>After stopping to allow the Holmatro safety team to remove the advertising board, Bourdais managed to limp back to the pits.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon rounded out the top ten for Chip Ganassi Racing, after a quiet start to the weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Barber Motorsports Park is one of the few circuits Dixon is yet to win at on the IndyCar calendar, and he will be looking to improve as the weekend continues in a bid to be able to fight for victory.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin finished just outside the top ten in P11, after initially producing the benchmark during the early stages of the session before a spin at Turn 2.</p> <p>Meanwhile rookie Zach Veach ended the session 21st and last, over a second behind Max Chilton in P20.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14397https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14397Video: Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen meet the fans in BahrainFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:11:32 GMT<p>Watch Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen meet fans and supporters ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14396https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14396BMW shows off DTM liveries for 2017 seasonFri, 21 Apr 2017 16:04:47 GMT<p>BMW has become the third and final DTM manufacturer to unveil its liveries for the 2017 season.</p> <p>The German car company has streamlined from four to two teams in the touring car series, fielding Team RMG and Team RBM.</p> <p>Reigning DTM champion Marco Wittman will race with a striking Red Bull livery this year, which is his fifth season in the series.</p> <p>His RMG team-mate Augusto Farfus will drive with an eye-catching red colour scheme, with his BMW M4 DTM featuring Shell sponsorship.</p> <p>Former F1 driver Timo Glock remains with a bright yellow livery thanks to backing from Deutsche Post, and completes the RMG team line-up.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/DTM/DTM1.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>Over at RBM, 2012 champion Bruno Spengler&rsquo;s BMW will race with a black livery, while Maxime Martin&rsquo;s car is painted white and blue due to Samsung sponsorship.</p> <p>Swedish driver Tom Blomqvist will embark on his third DTM season in 2017. His BMW will feature a predominantly white design with blue and red accents, in the classic M design.</p> <p>BMW finished second in the manufacturers&rsquo; standings last year, with Wittmann taking the drivers&rsquo; championship.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14395https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14395Daniil Kvyat eyes ‘perfect weekend’ for home F1 eventFri, 21 Apr 2017 14:01:44 GMT<p>Toro Rosso racer Daniil Kvyat says he hopes to achieve the &ldquo;perfect weekend&rdquo; at his home event in Russia next weekend.</p> <p>Kvyat, the only Russian driver on the grid, has a mixed record at Sochi, qualifying fifth in 2014, before racing to the same position 12 months later, having graduated to the senior Red Bull team.</p> <p>However, Kvyat twice hit Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap last year and drew widespread criticism, after which he was demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is always a special weekend for me as it&rsquo;s my home race,&rdquo; said Kvyat.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had very good qualifying [sessions] there but I&rsquo;ve never actually been able to put the perfect race together in Russia, so I&rsquo;d like to achieve it this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;In 2014 I qualified in P5, which was my best qualifying result with Toro Rosso. It was quite a nice moment and I have very good memories from that day.</p> <p>&ldquo;The race wasn&rsquo;t great but then the following year the situation was the opposite, with not the strongest of qualifying [sessions] but with a decent race.</p> <p>&ldquo;This time I&rsquo;m looking to be strong on both Saturday and Sunday!&rdquo;</p> <p>Kvyat says he has been able to note the growing interest towards Formula 1 in Russia, ahead of the fourth event at the former Winter Olympics venue.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since the first Russian GP back in 2014, Formula 1 in Russia has definitely grown a lot,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;To have our own race was a big step for the country and more and more fans attend every year, so you can see that the interest in the sport is much bigger.&rdquo;</p> <p>Kvyat occupies 14th place in the standings, having taken his sole points of 2017 at the season-opening race in Australia, where he finished ninth.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14394https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14394Fernando Alonso to make IndyCar test debut on May 3Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:08:27 GMT<p><strong>Fernando Alonso will get his Indy 500 preparations underway on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, only three days after the Russian Grand Prix.</strong></p> <p>Although practice for the coveted event does not officially start until the May 15 with the rookie orientation programme, Alonso has been offered a chance to acclimatise to oval racing.</p> <p>Unlike fellow Indianapolis 500 rookies Zach Veach, Ed Jones and Jack Harvey, the double Formula 1 world champion has never competed on ovals or been behind the wheel of an Indy car.</p> <p>Alonso will have a very busy month of May, as he will need to return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12-14, before then immediately flying back to Indianapolis for the first official practice session.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14393https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14393Karun Chandhok confirmed for Le Mans; British LMP3 CupThu, 20 Apr 2017 21:55:25 GMT<p><strong>Ex-Formula One driver Karun Chandhok will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year in the LMP2 category.</strong></p> <p>The 33-year-old, who made eleven starts with the HRT and Lotus teams in 2010 and 2011 is set to take part in the French endurance classic for the fifth time.</p> <p>Chandhok will drive a Gibson-powered Ligier JSP217 run by British squad Tockwith Motorsports, sharing the car with Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson.</p> <p>The Yorkshire-based team currently competes in the European Le Mans Series and finished fifth on its LMP2 debut at Silverstone last weekend.</p> <p>Chandhok, Moore and Hanson were revealed on the <a href="http://johndagys.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/C9yUp5LWsAA8jEB.jpg">provisional entry list</a> for next month&#39;s Spa round of the World Endurance Championship, which the team will use as preparation for its first attempt at the 24-hours.</p> <p>The last time Chandhok raced at Le Mans was in 2015, when he joined Irish outfit Murphy Prototypes in its LMP2 lineup.</p> <p>He, Nathanael Berthon and Mark Patterson finished fifth in class on that occasion, bettering a sixth-place finish and a DNF with Murphy the previous two years.</p> <p>Chandhok also made one appearance in the top category -&nbsp;LMP1 -&nbsp;driving a JRM-entered HPD with Peter Dumbreck and David Brabham in 2012.</p> <p><strong>LMP3 debut this weekend</strong></p> <p>Chandhok has also been confirmed as a driver in the inaugural round of the UK-based LMP3 Cup Championship, which takes place this weekend at Donington Park.</p> <p>Sharing a Ligier JSP3-Nissan with former British GT regular Steve Tandy, Chandhok will be reunited with the T-Sport team that gave him an early opportunity in Formula 3 single seaters.</p> <p>&quot;Nice to be racing a T-Sport Racing car 13 years after I did F3 with them,&quot; said Chandhok on Twitter.</p> <p>&quot;Great guys! Helps me knock the rust off before Spa &amp; Le Mans.&quot;</p> <p>The LMP3 Cup Championship is a national-level feeder series for the Michelin Le Mans Cup, which supports the European Le Mans Series.</p> <p>It is designed to provide a cost-effective starting point for teams wishing to pursue the prototype ladder in the hope of competing at Le Mans.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14392https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14392Nirei Fukuzumi, Dorian Boccolacci quickest at second GP3 testThu, 20 Apr 2017 16:41:26 GMT<p>Nirei Fukuzumi and Dorian Boccolacci topped the timesheets in Barcelona at the second two-day pre-season GP3 test.</p> <p>ART racer Fukuzumi set the pace on the opening day of running, setting his best time within the first hour of the afternoon session.</p> <p>His fastest lap of 1:33.685 proved to be four tenths quicker than his team-mate Anthoine Hubert&rsquo;s best effort, with Arjun Maini &ndash; who was quickest in the wet-to-dry morning session &ndash; third for Jenzer.</p> <p>Mercedes F1 junior George Russell was fourth, with Alessio Lorandi next up in the second Jenzer car. Giuliano Alesi and Kevin J&ouml;rg were sixth and seventh.</p> <p>ART&rsquo;s Jack Aitken was eighth, while Italian F4 champion Marcos Siebert and DAMS driver Danino Ferrucci completed the top 10.</p> <p>The morning session was quiet due to the damp conditions, with three red flags for cars stopped on the circuit interrupting the afternoon.</p> <p>The second and final day of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya test was also disrupted by red flags, one in the morning and two in the afternoon.</p> <p>Boccolacci, who has yet to sign for a team in GP3 this year, put in a 1:32.896 in the morning session to go quickest for Trident and edged Fukuzumi by just 0.012 seconds.</p> <p>Dry weather meant many teams focused on qualifying in the morning before switching focus to race runs in the afternoon.</p> <p>Fukuzumi&rsquo;s ART team-mates Aitken and Russel were third and fourth, with Red Bull junior Niko Kari in fifth. Campos driver Raoul Hyman and J&ouml;rg were next up.</p> <p>Siebert, Ferrucci and Maini completed the top 10 on the final day of the test. The third pre-season GP3 test will take place from the 25-26 April at Valencia.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14391https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14391Video: Renault shows off 2027 F1 concept carThu, 20 Apr 2017 10:29:45 GMT<p>Renault has unveiled a 2027 Formula 1 concept car, named the RS2027 Vision. Featuring four-wheel-drive, LED wheels to display information, a see-through cockpit and strikingly sleek aero, it is vastly different to the F1 cars we see today.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14390https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14390Eric Boullier: McLaren boosted by positive test runningThu, 20 Apr 2017 10:23:44 GMT<p>McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says the team&rsquo;s trouble-free final day of the Bahrain in-season test has come &ldquo;at the right time,&quot; after a difficult start to 2017 for the outfit.</p> <p>After a disrupted first day of running in Bahrain, when Oliver Turvey managed just 17 laps in the MCL32, Stoffel Vandoorne added 81 laps to McLaren&rsquo;s tally on day two, labelling it as the &quot;<a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14386">first day without big problems</a>.&quot;</p> <p>McLaren did not experience any reliability issues during Wednesday&rsquo;s final day of the Bahrain test, allowing the team to &ldquo;push&rdquo; more with settings and ideas.</p> <p>A series of MGU-H problems with the Honda power unit plagued the team across the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, while Turvey&#39;s running was <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14371">limited due to a water leak in the ERS system</a>, which required a power unit change.</p> <p>Boullier says the positive track time on Wednesday has helped to boost the team and given them plenty of useful data.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything has worked perfectly in terms of reliability, and we were even able to push a little bit in terms of settings,&rdquo; he said after day two of the test.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve managed a &lsquo;proper&rsquo; test day, and really made the most of every opportunity out on track.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything we&rsquo;ve planned, we&rsquo;ve tested, and we&rsquo;ve done back-to-back runs, so I&rsquo;m really happy with the work we&rsquo;ve completed.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s complicated to understand the issues we&rsquo;ve had over the past few days, since we&rsquo;ve managed to run without any problems [on Wednesday], but Honda are working hard to understand where the weaknesses lie.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been able to run with a more aggressive set-up, gathered a lot of information and tested a lot of solutions, so in terms of both data and results it&rsquo;s, been a very positive day of testing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Oliver and Stoffel, too, have both done a sterling job, and, for Stoffel in particular, the mileage we&rsquo;ve been able to cover after difficult back-to-back race weekends for him has been priceless.</p> <p>&ldquo;Being able to do a good amount of running on the final day has come at the right time. Now, we&rsquo;ll head back to the factory with even more motivation to keep pushing forward.&rdquo;</p> <p>McLaren has yet to score a point this season, with Vandoorne logging the MCL32&#39;s only race finish in Australia.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14389https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14389Red Bull set for 'revamped' chassis in SpainThu, 20 Apr 2017 10:15:52 GMT<p>Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko says the team expects to make a &ldquo;significant step&rdquo; forward when Formula 1 returns to Europe for next month&rsquo;s Spanish Grand Prix, with a &quot;revamped&quot; chassis set to be introduced.</p> <p>Red Bull has emerged as the third-best team so far in 2017, behind pacesetters Mercedes and Ferrari but comfortably clear of the midfield pack.</p> <p>The outfit has so far struggled to fully exploit its RB13, while power unit supplier Renault has also encountered a handful of issues, most notably running its 2016-spec MGU-K.</p> <p>Marko has conceded that Red Bull&#39;s chassis has not been as strong as anticipated, but insists gains will arrive in the coming weeks.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have two problems: Renault had some reliability issues, which have slowed them down in the development; and we didn&rsquo;t deliver the chassis that we should have done,&rdquo; Marko told the official F1 website.</p> <p>&ldquo;But we are working day and night to pick up our shortcomings. We are pretty optimistic that we will make a significant step forward in Barcelona where a big change of parts is coming.</p> <p>&ldquo;The chassis will be &lsquo;revamped&rsquo; in Barcelona and Renault is planning something for Montr&eacute;al.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marko emphasised that Red Bull is already on the right trajectory, citing its improvement across the opening three rounds of the campaign.</p> <p>&ldquo;Let me get our pace history straight: in Australia we were 1.8 seconds behind, in China it was 1.3 seconds and in Bahrain something in the range of nine-tenth,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;So we are improving and step by step closing the gap &ndash; but it is, of course, not enough.</p> <p>&ldquo;Looking at qualifying where the cars show their sheer speed, we know that Mercedes has a qualification mode &ndash; and to a certain extent also Ferrari &ndash; and that helps them a lot.</p> <p>&ldquo;By constantly closing the gap to them I would say that the direction we are moving in is promising.</p> <p>&ldquo;As you don&rsquo;t get any points in qualifying, it is good news that in the race we are usually stronger if problems don&rsquo;t stop us like on Sunday when Max [Verstappen] suffered a brake issue.&rdquo;</p> <p>Red Bull is 55 points adrift of leaders Ferrari in the Constructors&#39; championship.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14388https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14388Jorge Lorenzo hopes 'difficult moment' will soon passThu, 20 Apr 2017 09:57:33 GMT<p>Jorge Lorenzo says he is confident his &quot;difficult moment&quot; will soon be over, following a troubled start to his Ducati career.</p> <p>Lorenzo has switched from Yamaha to Ducati, the first time he has changed teams in MotoGP, but managed only 11th in Qatar, having gone wide on the first lap, and crashed out at the start in Argentina, after qualifying towards the back of the field.</p> <p>The results have left Lorenzo a lowly 18th in the standings, 45 points behind championship leader Maverick Vi&ntilde;ales, but the Ducati rider is optimistic that matters will improve, ahead of the third round of the campaign in the United States.</p> <p>&ldquo;Finally we have arrived at Austin, and I just couldn&rsquo;t wait to get here after my crash at Termas de R&iacute;o Hondo,&quot; Lorenzo said.</p> <p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t want to think about what happened in Argentina anymore, and even though the results up until now haven&rsquo;t gone our way, I think we are on the right track to improve.</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately for one reason or another, I haven&rsquo;t been able to demonstrate this. Austin is a great circuit, one where I have never won, but Ducati here has always been competitive and has been on the podium in the last three years.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a good track to keep on developing the Desmosedici and adapting my riding style. In the team we are all optimistic, we&rsquo;re working well together and I&rsquo;m sure this difficult moment will be over soon.&quot;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14387https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14387Valtteri Bottas 'learned a few tricks' at Formula 1 testWed, 19 Apr 2017 19:23:01 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas says he &ldquo;learned a few tricks&rdquo; as the team attempted to get on top of its long-run pace during in-season testing in Bahrain.</p> <p>Mercedes has topped all three qualifying sessions in 2017, with Bottas claiming his maiden pole at Sakhir last weekend, but has taken only one win, with Sebastian Vettel displaying superior tyre usage in Australia and Bahrain to triumph.</p> <p>Bottas struggled with rear tyre life during the race, slipping to third, and admitted afterwards that he and Mercedes had to investigate the cause.</p> <p>Lewis Hamilton expressed confidence that Mercedes had made gains during Tuesday&rsquo;s running and Bottas echoed his team-mate&rsquo;s sentiments.</p> <p>The Finn completed 143 laps in the W08, despite stopping on track due to a mechanical issue with the steering wheel, and <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14384">finished at the top of the timesheets</a>, posting a lap of 1:31.280</p> <p>&ldquo;We got so much running done,&rdquo; said Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were focusing all day on the long-run pace, which was a bit of a problem for us on Sunday compared to Ferrari.</p> <p>&ldquo;We did some interesting tests to try and improve both the tyre life and the race pace.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have definitely got plenty to analyse; I think I learned a few tricks today as well.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14386https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14386Stoffel Vandoorne upbeat after 'first day without big problems' in 2017Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:48:50 GMT<p>Stoffel Vandoorne has labelled McLaren-Honda&rsquo;s running during testing as &ldquo;probably its best day&rdquo; of the 2017 season after a productive stint in the MCL32 in Bahrain.</p> <p>McLaren has endured a troublesome campaign, amid a lack of reliability and performance, with Vandoorne unable to start last Sunday&rsquo;s race, compounding a weekend blighted by MGU-H issues.</p> <p>Test and development driver Oliver Turvey was <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14376">limited to just 17 laps on Tuesday</a> but Vandoorne amassed 81 laps on Wednesday, as McLaren-Honda sought to make progress.</p> <p>Honda Principal Engineer Satoshi Nakamara revealed that Wednesday&rsquo;s running had resulted in progress with the set-up of the power unit, allowing better driveability and a reduction of the vibrations which have so far compromised its season.</p> <p>Vandoorne welcomed the progress and has now challenged the partnership to ensure that it can learn from its positive day.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today has probably been our best day this season so far,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the first time that we&rsquo;ve had a day without any big problems, where we could actually get on with our programme.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we completed everything we wanted to do today, and we went through a lot of set-up stuff that we didn&rsquo;t manage to do in Barcelona.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Today was really good, but we need every day to be this good, and there are no guarantees that it will be like this next time.</p> <p>&ldquo;We need to learn very carefully from what we&rsquo;ve done today, and hopefully carry that forward to the next event and see some improvements.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been very good for both me and the team to be able to try a number of different directions with the set-up.</p> <p>&ldquo;There were some new bits on the car &ndash; quite fundamental things &ndash; that we wanted to try out, and learn about, so it&rsquo;s been really useful to see where the performance comes from, and very productive.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14385https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14385Sebastian Vettel: 'Electrical blackout' in garage hindered Ferrari at F1 testWed, 19 Apr 2017 16:30:59 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel has revealed that a loss of power to Ferrari&rsquo;s garage compromised the team&rsquo;s run plan during in-season testing in Bahrain on Wednesday.</p> <p>Vettel, having conducted tyre testing in association with Pirelli on Tuesday, carried out Ferrari&rsquo;s normal development programme at Sakhir, but was hindered with technical glitches in the morning.</p> <p>Vettel returned to action in the afternoon, but was restricted by an &ldquo;electrical blackout&rdquo; to Ferrari&rsquo;s garage at Sakhir, as he amassed only 67 laps compared to the 143 completed by Valtteri Bottas.</p> <p>Vettel eventually wound up second to Mercedes rival Bottas, setting a best time of 1:31.574 on the Soft tyres.</p> <p>&ldquo;It would be nice to have done even more,&rdquo; Vettel said of his time in the SF70-H.</p> <p>&ldquo;But today we had a few little problems in the morning, which is normal for testing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then, in the afternoon, we lost some time when there was an electrical blackout in our garage</p> <p>&ldquo;In any case, driving this car is always a pleasure; the times don&rsquo;t mean much, given we don&rsquo;t know what programmes the others are running.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vettel currently leads the Drivers&rsquo; standings, having taken victory in Australia and Bahrain, opening a seven-point lead over Mercedes&rsquo; Lewis Hamilton.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14384https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14384Valtteri Bottas heads second day of Bahrain F1 testWed, 19 Apr 2017 15:15:22 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas clocked the quickest time during the concluding day of running at the opening in-season test in Bahrain.</p> <p>Bottas, who claimed pole position for last weekend&rsquo;s race before slipping to third, kept Mercedes on top, despite a brief stoppage on-track, caused by a mechanical issue with the steering wheel.</p> <p>Bottas, running without a T-wing on the W08, set a best of 1:31.280, having also recorded the most laps (143).</p> <p>Sebastian Vettel&rsquo;s running was limited during the morning amid suspected technical issues but he enjoyed a productive afternoon, winding up second, 0.294s behind Bottas, completing 64 laps.</p> <p>Toro Rosso split its efforts between Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat, with the Spaniard piloting the STR12 in the afternoon, finishing in third position.</p> <p>After Tuesday&rsquo;s restricted running, due to a lengthy power unit change, McLaren-Honda&rsquo;s fortunes improved, with Stoffel Vandoorne completing 81 laps in the MCL32, placing fourth.</p> <p>Kevin Magnussen was fifth for Haas, in front of Force India&rsquo;s Esteban Ocon and the aforementioned Kvyat.</p> <p>Williams simulator driver Gary Paffett participated in an official F1 test session for the first time since mid-2013, when he competed with McLaren, and amassed 126 laps en route to eighth spot, as the last driver to finish within a second of Bottas.</p> <p>Sergey Sirotkin (Renault) and Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) both received their first runs in 2017 machinery to place ninth and 10th, while Sauber&rsquo;s Pascal Wehrlein continued to get up to speed in the C36-Ferrari, completing 91 laps, his best effort 3.1s behind Bottas&#39; quickest time.</p> <p>Sergio P&eacute;rez completed the afternoon session for Force India, taking over from team-mate Ocon, and finished at the foot of the standings.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14383https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14383Sebastien Bourdais remaining focused ahead of Alabama GPWed, 19 Apr 2017 14:14:15 GMT<p><strong>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais is remaining focused ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with the Frenchman currently sat 19 points ahead of Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe in the drivers&rsquo; championship.</strong></p> <p>The four-time champion started his 2017 campaign in fine form by securing victory at the season-opener at St. Petersburg, before rising up through the order once again to finish on the podium at Long Beach.</p> <p>&quot;I think being in the championship lead is a great story more than anything else, but it doesn&#39;t change anything in our preparation,&rdquo; explained Bourdais, who has never finished higher than eighth at Barber.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;re preparing like any other race, at a track that I very much enjoy driving at and where the gap between the cars is like at Long Beach - very, very, very close.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;We had a bit of a difficult test at Barber last month where we weren&#39;t very happy with the car and what we tried didn&#39;t quite work.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;However, we then had a great test at Sonoma that allowed us to try some items for Barber, and we can&#39;t wait to finally try those and see how they work out.&quot;</p> <p>Meanwhile Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Ed Jones is expecting a tough weekend around the Barber Motorsports Park, with the rookie hoping to call upon his Indy Lights knowledge to assist him.</p> <p>So far Jones has impressed many within the IndyCar paddock, finishing within the top ten at both St. Petersburg and Long Beach.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s a perfect start to the season with two top-10 finishes,&rdquo; explained the Dubai-born British racer.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s good to have a lot of momentum for the team and myself going forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Barber will be the first track that we go to that we&#39;ve actually tested at recently. Obviously, everyone else has also done that, but it gives us more knowledge going in.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&#39;s going to be tough. The circuit is one of the hardest on the calendar both physically and technically. There&#39;s a lot of long-duration corners and corners that require a lot of confidence.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think my Indy Lights experience should help a lot, at least for track knowledge in certain places like Barber and just in general.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14382https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14382Sergio Marchionne: Bahrain F1 win proves Ferrari’s season-long threatWed, 19 Apr 2017 12:06:21 GMT<p>Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne says Sebastian Vettel&rsquo;s triumph at the Bahrain Grand Prix is proof of the team&rsquo;s competitiveness in Formula 1 this season.</p> <p>Vettel passed Lewis Hamilton at the start before overhauling pole sitter Valtteri Bottas through the first pit stop phase, before going on to register victory, his second of the campaign, having opened the season on top in Australia.</p> <p>Vettel&rsquo;s win lifted Ferrari back into the lead of the Constructors&rsquo; Championship, three points clear of Mercedes, and Marchionne believes its Bahrain performance demonstrates it will be a year-long threat.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium with Seb,&rdquo; Marchionne said.</p> <p>&ldquo;More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn&rsquo;t just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this World Championship until the last [round].</p> <p>&ldquo;We finally have a competitive car to count on and it is important to recognise the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race.</p> <p>&ldquo;All this is the fruit of superb work at the track and in Maranello, so my compliments not just to Seb for his achievements in Bahrain, but also to the whole team.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marchionne nonetheless cautioned that Ferrari cannot get carried away with its success, after winning two of the opening three rounds for the first time since 2008.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are well aware we have a long road ahead and know that if we want to get to the most important finish-line of all, we cannot stint on our commitment and focus for a second,&rdquo; he commented.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14381https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14381Lance Stroll: Useful to 'experiment' during F1 test runsWed, 19 Apr 2017 10:20:43 GMT<p>Williams rookie Lance Stroll says any additional track time in Formula 1 is useful, allowing him to &lsquo;experiment&rsquo; with different aspects of the sport.</p> <p>Stroll graduated to Formula 1 as the reigning European Formula 3 Champion, but the 18-year-old has endured a difficult start to his career in the championship.</p> <p>Stroll suffered a brake failure in Australia and was pitched into the gravel on the opening lap in damp conditions in China, following contact with Force India rival Sergio P&eacute;rez.</p> <p>The Canadian failed to finish again in Bahrain, after being hit by Carlos Sainz Jr. following the first round of stops, meaning he has completed just 52 of the 170 racing laps in 2017, the fewest of any driver this season.</p> <p>Williams handed track time to Stroll during in-season testing in Bahrain and the youngster explained how additional experience aids his cause.</p> <p>&ldquo;I used multiple sets of tyres trying different little things, nothing special, just tweaking bits and more driving for myself, which is always good,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;I need to try small changes to see how the car feels. It really is about the simple stuff.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me all the seat time I can get is good, as there is always something I can gain from being in the car. When we are not limited on what we can do, it is just good to experiment.</p> <p>&ldquo;That is something Williams knows I have to do and also I know that myself.</p> <p>&ldquo;For sure I am out there competing and trying my best, but it is also about understanding and learning before I can reach the maximum of my capability as a racing driver.&rdquo;</p> <p>Williams simulator driver Gary Paffett is in action in the FW40 at Sakhir today (Wednesday).</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14380https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14380Renault releases vision for 2027 F1 packageWed, 19 Apr 2017 06:43:15 GMT<p>Formula 1 manufacturer Renault has revealed its vision for the sport in 2027, which includes a revised package, altered regulations, and a tweaked race format.</p> <p>To mark Renault&rsquo;s 40 years in Formula 1, the manufacturer has outlined its idea of what the sport&rsquo;s cars may look like in 10 years&#39; time, with its concept 1340bhp closed-cockpit machine launched at the Auto Shanghai show.</p> <p>The &lsquo;RS.2027 Vision&rsquo; features a &lsquo;more human-centric championship, with drivers at the heart of the sport, as illustrated by a transparent cockpit and a transparent helmet&rsquo;, in order for fans to see the driver&rsquo;s face and expressions.</p> <p>The concept car would provide &lsquo;a more spectacular show, with active LED lighting incorporated into the wheels, and moving aerodynamic parts such as the car&rsquo;s active wings.&#39;</p> <p>Fans would be able to view telemetry, via the Internet, while safety would be enhanced &lsquo;thanks to an autonomous mode that can be activated in the case of an accident, along with an ultra-resistant polycarbonate cockpit canopy to protect against impact.&rsquo;</p> <p>Safety would also be improved courtesy of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, enabling each driver to know where another cars is on-track, or while in the pit lane.</p> <p>Technological advancements would create &lsquo;an even more environmentally-respectful form of Formula 1, with the fuel tank capacity halved in the space of 10 years, plus a full-electric mode for use along the pit lane.&rsquo;</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Formula1/C9wFx4SXkAAhkwT%20(Custom).jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>A side view of the Renault RS.2027</figcaption> </figure> <p>The RS.2027 Vision would be four-wheel drive, featuring two Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, one front and rear, generating 500kW, compared to 120kW in 2027.</p> <p>The total amount of power would be 1 megawatt, with the weight limited to 600kg, and a fuel tank restricted to 60kg.</p> <p>A tweaked version of Formula E&#39;s &#39;FanBoost&#39; would be implemented, with a digital display in the centre of the steering wheel informing the driver of his &lsquo;fan ranking&rsquo; position, determined by spectators&rsquo; interaction on social media, rewarding the most deserving driver with an additional boost of power in the last laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;One role of Renault Sport Racing is to anticipate the future of Formula 1 so that it draws a maximum number of fans in an environment consistent with Groupe Renault&rsquo;s objectives,&rdquo; said Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul.</p> <p>&ldquo;We look forward to generating inspired conversations with the racing community, fans and enthusiasts through this concept that highlights our ideas and desires.&rdquo;</p> <p>Renault has added that its vision for the future would include a cost cap, believing it &#39;can attract more manufacturers and teams for a long-term commitment&#39;, while the financially-level playing field would allow teams &#39;an equal opportunity to compete.&#39;</p> <p>The manufacturer&#39;s 2027 vision proposes that development work would be restricted to just the remodelling of front and rear wings, engine cover, floor and diffuser, limited to three configuration changes per season.</p> <p>Renault has additionally suggested a change to the race format, proposing that &lsquo;Sunday&rsquo;s centrepiece-race is shortened (250 kilometres instead of approximately 300 today) and divided into two parts: a long race and a second, shorter sprint known as the &lsquo;Final Sprint.&rsquo;</p> <p>&lsquo;A Rookie Night Race, featuring the teams&rsquo; reserve drivers and the drivers who are in their F1 rookie year, is organised on the Friday evening of race week, ahead of Saturday&rsquo;s official practice.&rsquo;</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Formula1/C9wIDcrWAAAmyJi%20(Custom).jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14379https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14379Antonio Giovinazzi revels in ‘dream’ Ferrari F1 test outing in BahrainTue, 18 Apr 2017 19:29:10 GMT<p>Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi labelled his test outing in the SF70-H in Bahrain as a &ldquo;dream,&rdquo; as he completed a day&rsquo;s worth of post-race running.</p> <p>Giovinazzi, 23, made his Formula 1 debut in Australia as a late replacement for Pascal Wehrlein, who withdrew due to a lack of fitness, caused by the back injury he sustained at the Race of Champions.</p> <p>Giovinazzi went on to finish in 12<sup>th</sup> position and retained the Sauber seat for China, though crashed out heavily in both qualifying and the race, before Wehrlein returned for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Italian, whose previously sampled Ferrari&rsquo;s 2015 car during a private run at Fiorano earlier this year, <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14372">finished second to Lewis Hamilton</a> at Sakhir on Tuesday, completing 93 laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;I enjoyed every single lap,&rdquo; said Giovinazzi, whose best time of 1:31.984 came on the Super Soft tyres.</p> <p>&ldquo;To drive the car that won the last race and is leading the world championship, working with the Ferrari engineers and mechanics, is not just a great feeling, it&rsquo;s a dream I&rsquo;ve had since I was little and racing in karts. And today it came true.&rdquo;</p> <p>Giovinazzi was joined on circuit by Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, though the championship leader was conducting tyre testing in association with sole supplier Pirelli.</p> <p>Vettel will take over from Giovinazzi for Wednesday&rsquo;s running to conduct Ferrari&rsquo;s programme. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14378https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14378Lewis Hamilton upbeat after long-run tyre workTue, 18 Apr 2017 19:15:23 GMT<p>Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes has made gains with its tyre performance across long runs following the opening day of the first in-season test in Bahrain.</p> <p>Mercedes has lagged behind Ferrari in tyre wear across the opening phase of the season, with Hamilton missing out on victory to Sebastian Vettel in Australia after struggling on the Super Soft tyres.</p> <p>Vettel triumphed again in Bahrain, with pole sitter Valtteri Bottas admitting to being rear-limited, suffering from oversteer, as he dropped to third position, behind Hamilton.</p> <p>Hamilton <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14372">clocked the quickest lap at Sakhir on Tuesday</a>, but was more encouraged by the focus on long-run tyre performance of the W08.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today was tricky with it being so hot and very gusty but we still managed to get through plenty of work,&rdquo; said Hamilton, having completed 97 laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our focus was on advancing our understanding of the tyres and also the rear of the car so that we can improve our long runs &ndash; particularly during the race and on the Super Soft compound.</p> <p>&ldquo;We came here with a specific goal, so it was positive to get on top of that with the team.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hamilton is nonetheless optimistic that tyre wear will be less of a factor at the next round of the season in Russia.</p> <p>&ldquo;Sochi is a smoother track and less abrasive on the tyres, so they can go quite a long way,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;Hopefully we can rely on the pace of our car there rather than our use of the tyres.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bottas will pilot the W08 during Wednesday&rsquo;s second day of running at Sakhir.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14377https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14377Zach Veach to replace injured J. R. Hildebrand at BarberTue, 18 Apr 2017 19:01:41 GMT<p>Zach Veach will make his IndyCar debut at this weekend&rsquo;s third round of the season at the Barber Motorsports Park, after J. R. Hildebrand was ruled out through injury.</p> <p>Indy Lights graduate Veach was set to make his debut with Foyt at next month&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500, but has now been drafted in by Ed Carpenter Racing to deputise for Hildebrand.</p> <p>Hildebrand sustained a broken bone in his left hand in a last-lap collision with Mikhail Aleshin at the preceding Long Beach round, and has been advised to rest in order to prevent potential further damage.</p> <p>Veach previously tested for ECR at Sonoma last summer and will now link up with Spencer Pigot for this weekend&rsquo;s event at Barber.</p> <p>&ldquo;My heart goes out to him as I suffered a broken hand a couple years ago and I wouldn&rsquo;t wish that upon anyone,&rdquo; Veach said of Hildebrand.</p> <p>&ldquo;This isn&rsquo;t how any driver wants to get his first race but with that said, I&rsquo;m extremely thankful for the opportunity to sub for JR.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ed (Carpenter) gave me my first chance to test an Indy car a few months ago. It&rsquo;s going to be very special for me to be back in that same car representing Fuzzy&rsquo;s Vodka at Barber.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be a lot to take in in a short amount of time, but I&rsquo;m really excited to do the best I can for the team.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14376https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14376McLaren-Honda suspects Bahrain test and race issues relatedTue, 18 Apr 2017 18:50:48 GMT<p>McLaren-Honda says it suspects the water leak which hindered running on the opening day of the first in-season test in Bahrain is linked to the issues which it encountered across the course of the Grand Prix weekend.</p> <p>Test and development driver Oliver Turvey completed only a couple of installation laps before <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14371">a water leak from the ERS was detected</a>, meaning the team had to undertake a power unit change, severely limiting its running.</p> <p>Turvey returned to action during the final hour of the day but finished at the foot of the standings, having completed the least mileage.</p> <p>&ldquo;After Oliver completed his installation run this morning, we discovered a water leak in the ERS which required a full power unit change,&quot; explained McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier.</p> <p>&quot;We suspect the issue is related to those we encountered over the race weekend in Bahrain, but the circumstances were slightly different, so until the Honda engineers have done a full investigation we cannot be sure.&quot;</p> <p>Honda Principal Engineer Satoshi Nakamura added: &quot;We had hoped to work on improving our reliability following the issues we had during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>&quot;However, we still have one more day to go tomorrow. We will be aiming to complete as many laps as possible in order to proceed with our development in both reliability and performance.&quot;</p> <p>Stoffel Vandoorne is scheduled to drive the MCL32 during Wednesday&#39;s running.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14375https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14375Sean Gelael hails 'amazing' F1 test debut with Toro RossoTue, 18 Apr 2017 17:11:34 GMT<p>Indonesian racer Sean Gelael described an &quot;amazing feeling&quot; as he drove a Formula 1 car for the first time in his career during the <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14372">opening day of in-season testing</a> in Bahrain on Tuesday.</p> <p>Formula 2 driver Gelael linked up with Toro Rosso and bounced back from two early stoppages to record a time of 1:33.885, putting him eighth on the leaderboard, as he completed 78 laps of the Sakhir Circuit.</p> <p>Gelael, who is poised to return to the cockpit of the STR12 for the next in-season test in Hungary, revelled in his first day of Formula 1 action.</p> <p>&quot;Today is a day I will never forget &ndash; to finally drive a Formula 1 car is something every driver dreams of, and to do it with Toro Rosso makes it even more special,&quot; said Gelael.</p> <p>&quot;What an amazing feeling! This year&rsquo;s car is a beast, it&rsquo;s so quick! I settled in nicely throughout the day and we definitely made progress.</p> <p>&quot;I was able to complete plenty of laps and get used to the car quickly. The power and overall grip is amazing and, compared to the Formula 2 car I drive, the grip under braking and the kerb riding are two of the biggest differences I felt.</p> <p>&quot;Honestly, it&rsquo;s really fun to drive and I&rsquo;d like to thank everyone who made this possible! I now can&rsquo;t wait to drive the STR12 again in a few months&rsquo; time at the test in Hungary.&quot;</p> <p>Regular racers Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr. will share driving duties on Wednesday.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14374https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14374Marcus Ericsson encouraged by Sauber tyre progress at testTue, 18 Apr 2017 16:39:51 GMT<p>Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson says the team has made &ldquo;really good progress&rdquo; in understanding how to get Pirelli&rsquo;s tyres to operate within the right window, following a day of testing in Bahrain.</p> <p>Formula 1 teams reconvened at the Sakhir Circuit for the <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14372">opening day of in-season testing</a> and Ericsson was tasked with conducting duties in the C36-Ferrari.</p> <p>Ericsson, yet to score a point this season, finished only 11<sup>th</sup> quickest, but completed the most laps across the nine hours of running, logging 106 laps, and was encouraged by the work undertaken.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a very good test day, we completed our programme and I did the most laps of everyone,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were able to run through a lot of different set-ups and we worked quite hard on the tyres to get them to work as we want in the right window.</p> <p>&ldquo;So I think we made some really good progress there, which is very promising for the next couple of races.</p> <p>&ldquo;Also on the set-up side we have been scanning through some different settings, which we haven&rsquo;t had the chance to do so far this season.</p> <p>&ldquo;On that side too we found interesting data for improving the performance.&rdquo;</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein will return to the cockpit on Wednesday, providing the German with more track time, having missed races in Australia and China as he recovered from injury-induced fitness problems.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14373https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14373Mike Conway to make FE return with Dragon in ParisTue, 18 Apr 2017 15:42:43 GMT<p>Mike Conway will make a return to the Formula E championship next month after being drafted in to replace Lo&iuml;c Duval for the Paris ePrix.</p> <p>Duval will compete in DTM with Audi this season and the second round of the campaign at the Lausitzring clashes with Formula E&rsquo;s race in Paris, on May 20.</p> <p>World Endurance Championship racer Conway will therefore act as Duval&rsquo;s substitute at Faraday Future Dragon Racing for the sixth round of the 2016/17 FE season around the streets of the French capital.</p> <p>Conway competed the bulk of the 2015/16 season with Venturi, taking a best of eighth at the Berlin ePrix, but was unable to secure a seat for the 2016/17 championship.</p> <p>Duval sits in 15th place in this year&rsquo;s championship, his only top 10 finish coming at the Buenos Aires ePrix, where he took sixth position.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14372https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14372Lewis Hamilton heads first F1 test day in BahrainTue, 18 Apr 2017 15:27:01 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clocked the quickest time during the opening day of the first in-season test in Bahrain on Tuesday.</p> <p>Hamilton recovered from an early stoppage in the W08 to post a time of 1:31.358 on the Soft tyre, finishing 0.626s clear of Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi, completing 97 laps.</p> <p>Hamilton&#39;s benchmark time was 2.5s slower than the lap recorded by Valtteri Bottas last Saturday to claim pole position.</p> <p>Giovinazzi, who substituted for Sauber&rsquo;s Pascal Wehrlein in Australia and China, logged 93 laps as he sampled the SF70-H for the first time.</p> <p>Daniel Ricciardo&rsquo;s running for Red Bull came to a premature end when he stopped at Turn 1 during the afternoon due to a power unit issue, limiting him to 45 laps, while Romain Grosjean went fourth for Haas.</p> <p>Williams split its running between Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, who placed fifth and seventh respectively, sandwiching Renault&rsquo;s Nico H&uuml;lkenberg.</p> <p>Formula 2 racer Sean Gelael stepped into Formula 1 machinery for the first time with Toro Rosso and recovered from two early stoppages to place eighth, 2.5s off the pace, completing 78 laps, the first of three planned runs this season.</p> <p>Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel, conducting tyre testing with Pirelli, will continue running until 21:00 local time after losing track time earlier in the day with a reliability issue, but finished the group session ninth on the leaderboard.</p> <p>Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr. returned to action in the VJM10, having previously sampled the car pre-season, and placed 10th, as Sauber&rsquo;s Marcus Ericsson logged the most laps, 106, to finish 11th.</p> <p>The beleaguered McLaren-Honda outfit <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14371">endured another challenging day</a>, with Oliver Turvey stranded in the garage for much of the day after a water leak from the ERS was detected.</p> <p>McLaren had to conduct a power unit change, meaning Turvey only re-appeared during the final hour, and finished at the foot of the times, 3.6s off the pace, having completed the fewest laps (16).</p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>Pos.</strong></td> <td><strong>Driver</strong></td> <td><strong>Team</strong></td> <td><strong>Time</strong></td> <td><strong>Gap</strong></td> <td><strong>Laps</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>1</td> <td>Lewis Hamilton</td> <td>Mercedes</td> <td>1:31.358</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>97</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>Antonio Giovinazzi</td> <td>Ferrari</td> <td>1:31.984</td> <td>0.626</td> <td>93</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3</td> <td>Daniel Ricciardo</td> <td>Red Bul</td> <td>1:32.349</td> <td>0.991</td> <td>45</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>Romain Grosjean</td> <td>Haas</td> <td>1:33.452</td> <td>1.094</td> <td>87</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5</td> <td>Felipe Massa</td> <td>Williams</td> <td>1:32.509</td> <td>1.151</td> <td>56</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6</td> <td>Nico Hulkenberg</td> <td>Renault</td> <td>1:33.624</td> <td>2.266</td> <td>74</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7</td> <td>Lance Stroll</td> <td>Williams</td> <td>1:33.729</td> <td>2.371</td> <td>35</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8</td> <td>Sean Gelael</td> <td>Toro Rosso</td> <td>1:33.885</td> <td>2.527</td> <td>78</td> </tr> <tr> <td>9</td> <td>Sebastian Vettel</td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span></td> <td>1:33.894</td> <td>2.536</td> <td>89</td> </tr> <tr> <td>10</td> <td>Alfonso Celis Jr</td> <td>Force India</td> <td>1:33.939</td> <td>2.581</td> <td>70</td> </tr> <tr> <td>11</td> <td>Marcus Ericsson</td> <td>Sauber</td> <td>1:34.550</td> <td>3.192</td> <td>106</td> </tr> <tr> <td>12</td> <td>Oliver Turvey</td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="mclaren">McLaren</span></td> <td>1:35.011</td> <td>3.653</td> <td>17</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14371https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14371McLaren-Honda hit by more problems during testingTue, 18 Apr 2017 11:43:18 GMT<p>McLaren-Honda has been dealt another setback during the opening day of the first in-season test after yet more reliability problems with its power unit.</p> <p>Formula 1 teams have stayed on in Bahrain for two days of in-season testing, running from 09:00 to 18:00 local time, with Honda intending to use the track time to trial updated parts.</p> <p>However, McLaren test and development driver Oliver Turvey has so far completed only two installation laps in the MCL32.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have detected a water leak from the ERS just after installation and it&rsquo;s under investigation,&rdquo; confirmed a Honda spokesperson.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the interest of time, we decided to change the power unit. Currently we are working to replace it.&rdquo;</p> <p>McLaren has endured a dismal start to the 2017 season, amid a lack of reliability and performance, leaving it at the foot of the standings.</p> <p>Stoffel Vandoorne registered its only finish so far in Australia, as the last classified runner, but was unable to even start in Bahrain, due to a water pressure issue.</p> <p>Fernando Alonso retired from the race late on with an undiagnosed issue, a day after McLaren was forced to undertake a power unit change post-qualifying.</p> <p>McLaren suffered four MGU-H failures across the course of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, with Honda still investigating the cause of the problems.</p> <p>Vandoorne is set to take over testing duties from Turvey for Wednesday&rsquo;s running.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14370https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14370Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya arrested in UKTue, 18 Apr 2017 10:52:06 GMT<p>Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya has been arrested in the United Kingdom by Scotland Yard and faces potential extradition to India, in order to face charges of fraud.</p> <p>India handed over a formal extradition request to the United Kingdom, where Mallya has been residing, in February, relating to the demise of Kingfisher Airlines.</p> <p>&ldquo;Officers from the Metropolitan Police&#39;s Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extraction warrant,&rdquo; read a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police.</p> <p>&ldquo;Vijay Mallya, 61 (18/12/1955), was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud.</p> <p>&ldquo;He was arrested after attending a central London police station, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates&#39; Court later today, 18 April.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mallya acquired Spyker in 2007 and rebranded it as Force India the following year, since when it has emerged as a midfield outfit, currently occupying fourth in the standings.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14369https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14369Max Verstappen apologises for 'offensive remark' after Felipe Massa warningTue, 18 Apr 2017 03:07:02 GMT<p>Max Verstappen has apologised for a remark he made about Brazilians during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, after his comment didn&#39;t go down well with fans and some drivers.</p> <p>The Red Bull driver felt Felipe Massa had ruined his qualifying lap by overtaking him during their out-laps. After the session, he was asked about it and replied: &quot;Well, he&#39;s a Brazilian - so there&#39;s not much to discuss.&quot;</p> <p>Brazilian fans reacted strongly to the remark, whilst Massa warned the Dutchman face-to-face before the Bahrain race&nbsp;that he should choose his words wisely.</p> <p>&quot;I told him earlier today, &#39;Be careful with your words because you will have a Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of year and you will have to race there. So be careful what you say&#39;,&quot; he told the&nbsp;<em>UOL Esporte</em> radio station.</p> <p>&quot;Without a doubt, it was not right to speak about Brazilians without even knowing what he was talking about.&quot;</p> <p>Verstapped moved to diffuse the situation on Monday, posting on his personal Facebook page: &quot;I feel like I need to clarify my remarks that were made after this weekend&#39;s qualifying session.</p> <p>&quot;Being a passionate racer, I was very disappointed with my last stint and gave an emotional reaction that was taken out of context.</p> <p>&quot;By no means did I mean to insult the Brazilian people who I greatly respect and are always very nice to me when I visit the country.</p> <p>&quot;One of the highlights of my career was last year&#39;s Brazilian GP and it was extra special to do this in the country that brought us legendary drivers such as Senna, Fittipaldi and Piquet.</p> <p>&quot;I would like to apologise to any Brazilians that feel offended and look forward to racing in your country again.&quot;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14368https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14368F1 teams poised for first in-season test in BahrainMon, 17 Apr 2017 15:24:08 GMT<p>Formula 1 teams have stayed on at the Bahrain International Circuit for the first in-season test, which takes place this Tuesday and Wednesday.</p> <p>The two days of action, in which each team is permitted to field one car, will enable squads to address any issues from the opening three rounds, and undertake crucial development work, ahead of a busy phase of the season.</p> <p>With 50 per cent of in-season test time required to be handed over to young drivers, classified as those who have competed in two or fewer Grands Prix, several teams will be running unfamiliar faces.</p> <p>Pierre Gasly will be in action for Red Bull, Oliver Turvey will link up with McLaren, Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin receives a run with the manufacturer, while Formula 2 racer Sean Gelael will make his Formula 1 bow with Toro Rosso.</p> <p>Alfonso Celis Jr. (Force India) and Gary Paffett (Williams) will also conduct testing duties with their respective teams.</p> <p>Mercedes, Haas and Sauber, meanwhile, will dedicate the entirety of their track time to regular racers, meaning they must field a young driver on both days of running at the next test, which takes place at the Hungaroring in August.</p> <p>One day of Ferrari&#39;s running will be conducted in association with Pirelli as part of Formula 1&#39;s tyre testing programme; Antonio Giovinazzi, who raced for Sauber in Australia and China, is set to sample the SF70-H for the first time.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14367https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14367Race pace 'exposed' Renault’s flaws - Nico HulkenbergMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:31:56 GMT<p>Nico Hulkenberg says he &ldquo;wrestled&rdquo; his way to ninth place in Bahrain, but reckons the car&rsquo;s race pace &ldquo;exposed&rdquo; the areas Renault needs to improve.</p> <p>The German driver lined up seventh on the grid after an impressive qualifying performance but was unable to hold onto the position.</p> <p>Hulkenberg was pleased to score Renault&rsquo;s first points of the year with ninth, but admitted the 57-lap race highlighted the areas where the manufacturer needs to improve.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to have the first points of the season on the board and I think I had a good race given the pace of the car,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;I really wrestled with it a lot and two points were the best we could do on the strategy we ran.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are a lot better in qualifying, but over the 57 laps of the race we exposed some of the areas where we need to improve.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fortunately, I am testing here on Tuesday, so we have a great opportunity to make progress.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have some updates for evaluation when I&rsquo;m in the car, which will hopefully improve our race pace by a big chunk for Sochi.&rdquo;</p> <p>Team-mate Jolyon Palmer trailed home in 13th position in the sister RS.17.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14366https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14366Water pressure issue to blame for Stoffel Vandoorne's DNSMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:29:21 GMT<p>McLaren has confirmed that a water pressure problem was to blame for Stoffel Vandoorne failing to start the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Belgian driver had qualified in 17th place and was gearing up for the race on the grid when an issue was discovered on his car.</p> <p>It was pushed back to the pits, with McLaren announcing shortly after that Vandoorne would not be making the race start.</p> <p>He was disappointed and frustrated with the problems, particularly after a stressful Friday of practice where his car suffered two MGU-H failures.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a real shame that we weren&rsquo;t even able to start the race,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The team discovered a water-pressure issue on the way to the grid.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s disappointing, obviously, that we come all the way here and can&rsquo;t even start the race. We knew from the beginning of the season that the situation we were in was going to be difficult.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll get on top of these issues, and I&rsquo;m confident that I can do a good job when everything comes together.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going through a hard time &ndash; it&rsquo;s not fun for us to go through this &ndash; but this is what it is at the moment, and shows that.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s frustrating when you do all the preparation work, put in so much effort, we drivers train a lot, and then not being able to start is a shame.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been an extremely difficult weekend for me, having two failures on Friday in FP1 and FP2, and now in the race: it&rsquo;s obviously very disappointing.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I&rsquo;ll keep my head down, I&rsquo;ll work hard with the team, and I&rsquo;m sure there will be some improvements at some point.</p> <p>&ldquo;When they will be, it&rsquo;s difficult to say, but I&rsquo;m confident that they&rsquo;ll come. We&rsquo;ve lost quite a bit of mileage so it&rsquo;s definitely not an ideal situation, and we need to make a good step forward soon.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14365https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14365Sergio Perez hails 'amazing recovery' in BahrainMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:26:33 GMT<p>Sergio Perez has described his Bahrain Grand Prix as an &ldquo;amazing recovery&rdquo; after leaping from 18th on the grid to seventh place.</p> <p>The Mexican driver enjoyed a strong first lap to move up to 13th, before making steady progress up the order and through the safety car phase.</p> <p>&ldquo;To finish seventh after starting from P18 is an amazing recovery and we can be very happy,&rdquo; Perez explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s also our thirteenth consecutive race in the points, which is an incredible achievement. The first lap was very important for my race because I made up five places and was up in P13 by the end of lap one.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had great tyre life in the first stint; we stayed out as long as we could and the safety car played into our hands just when I needed to make a pitstop.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, I think we made the most of every opportunity. We showed, once again, that we never give up on Sundays and we can come back strong after a difficult qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Esteban Ocon finished 10th, with both Force Indias in the points: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to get another point, but the timing of the safety car didn&rsquo;t help me and probably cost me three positions.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a shame because the team did everything right, but the safety car came out just after I had made my first pitstop. So, the luck was not on my side.</p> <p>&ldquo;Apart from that, it was a really fun race and I had to fight really hard. We showed again that our car is strong in race conditions.</p> <p>&ldquo;My target coming into the season was to score points in every race so I&rsquo;m pleased to have scored in all three so far, but I know we had the potential to score even more points.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14364https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14364Video: 6 Hours of Silverstone race highlightsMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:22:38 GMT<p>Watch race highlights from an action-packed first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, with the No.8 Toyota taking victory.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14363https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14363Toto Wolff: Generator failure caused early struggles for Valtteri BottasMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:17:32 GMT<p>Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed that a generator failure on the grid was the cause of the early struggles Valtteri Bottas experienced at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Finnish driver started on pole position but was unable to open up a gap due to his tyre pressures being too high in the opening stint.</p> <p>He lost the lead to Sebastian Vettel through the first pitstop phase and Bottas later slipped behind his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was on an alternative strategy.</p> <p>Hamilton eventually finished second, ahead of Bottas, but a five-second time penalty for holding up Daniel Ricciardo at the pit entry prevented him from properly challenging Vettel.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was another reminder that we need to get everything right in order to deliver,&rdquo; said Mercedes motorsport boss, Wolff.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ultimately, this was a day of marginal losses which cost us the win - however, as we saw particularly with Lewis, the pace was there in the car at the times when we were able to extract it.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our first loss came on the grid when a generator failure left Valtteri with too high starting pressures; that limited his pace in the opening stint, meaning we could not open a gap to the field and, with Lewis running behind Vettel, our strategic choices were pretty limited.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were on the back foot and then Ferrari played the undercut perfectly to come out ahead. We got lucky with the safety car which gave us an opportunity to recover but a problem with the wheel guns meant we lost time and positions with both cars.</p> <p>&ldquo;With the cars running different tyre compounds, we had to make the tough unpopular call for Valtteri to let Lewis pass; it&#39;s not something we like to do but, when the moment comes that the race win is in danger, we will always do what we need to in order to get it.</p> <p>&ldquo;After that, we offset Lewis&#39; strategy as much as possible to give him the chance of closing down Sebastian in the final laps, but after he had served the five-second penalty, it left him with too much to do.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mercedes slipped to second in the Constructors&#39; championship, three points behind Ferrari.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14362https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14362Daniel Ricciardo 'genuinely thought' Red Bull had chance to winMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:06:25 GMT<p>Daniel Ricciardo says he &ldquo;genuinely thought&rdquo; Red Bull was in with a chance of victory in the early stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix, before slipping back later in the race.</p> <p>The Australian fell to fifth behind his team-mate Max Verstappen on the opening lap, but moved up to third through the pit stops, behind only Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.</p> <p>However, Ricciardo lost positions at the restart to Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, before eventually getting back ahead of the Brazilian to take fifth.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me it was a race of two halves really,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;At the beginning of the race I genuinely thought we had a chance to win.</p> <p>&ldquo;That stint was looking very competitive and I could see Valtteri was struggling. I was at the tail end of the front pack and I could see everyone else in front of me.</p> <p>&ldquo;They were sliding and looked like they were struggling more. It was quite easy for me to stay there and I was looking after my tyres, so at that point I was thinking it could be on, not only for a podium but for a win.</p> <p>&ldquo;The safety car worked for me in that we jumped up to third but it wasn&rsquo;t so good for our tyres and that&rsquo;s where we lost a lot of ground.</p> <p>&ldquo;Even once we settled into a pace and the chaos settled we fell back and I was struggling with grip at the front and rear. We never really got that tyre working for us.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14361https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14361Max Verstappen disappointed by 'unfortunate' brake failureMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:03:32 GMT<p>Max Verstappen has shared his disappointment after an &ldquo;unfortunate&rdquo; rear brake failure during the Bahrain Grand Prix, which pitched him out of the race during the early stages.</p> <p>The Dutch driver started from sixth place but battled up to fourth on the opening lap, keeping in touch with the leading three drivers, before electing to make his pit stop comparatively early.</p> <p>However, just after emerging from the pits, he went straight on at Turn 4 due to a rear brake failure and nosed the barriers, retiring from the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I had a good start, Kimi [Raikkonen] struggled a bit off the line so I passed him straight away and then I went round the outside at Turn 1 and overtook Daniel [Ricciardo], which put me in a good position,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;After that I could keep up with the leaders, the car was performing really well on the tyres and the pace was good.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we made the right call with the pit stop to try and undercut the two Mercedes but then the rear brakes failed on lap 12 and it was race over.</p> <p>&ldquo;These things are all a part of racing and there are definitely positives to take away. The car was working a lot better here than the previous two races so it&rsquo;s just an unfortunate ending as we could have scored some really good points.&rdquo;</p> <p>Verstappen slipped from third to fifth in the standings as a result of his retirement.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14360https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14360Lance Stroll slams 'ridiculous' Carlos Sainz Jr after Bahrain crashMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:01:41 GMT<p>Williams driver Lance Stroll has branded Carlos Sainz Jr. &quot;ridiculous&quot; after he &ldquo;drove into my side&rdquo; during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>In the early stages of the race, Sainz exited the pitlane and emerged just behind Stroll going into the first corner.</p> <p>He remained on the inside line and braked late, with Stroll taking the racing line; the two cars collided, with both retiring on the spot.</p> <p>Toro Rosso&rsquo;s Sainz was given a <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14353">three-place grid penalty</a> for Russia and two penalty points for the incident, with stewards deeming he was predominantly to blame.</p> <p>&ldquo;I saw Sainz coming out of the pitlane, I was 50 or 60 metres in front of him in the braking zone, and was already turning in and he drove into my side,&rdquo; Stroll said.</p> <p>&ldquo;There is not much else to say, as I have just seen the video and it was ridiculous. I think the race wasn&rsquo;t going badly [up to that point].</p> <p>&ldquo;I am just disappointed and hope my luck turns round sometime soon. I can be frustrated, but it won&rsquo;t get me anywhere.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sainz added: &ldquo;It definitely hasn&rsquo;t been a good weekend for us. Unfortunately, all of a sudden after the pitstop I was involved in an incident with Lance and that was the end of my race.</p> <p>&ldquo;The weekend ends with a DNF, but weekends like this one always happen at some point throughout the year in F1, this is racing.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14359https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14359Getting Technical: Williams FW40 - Front-wingMon, 17 Apr 2017 04:49:17 GMT<p><strong>Unlike many of its rivals, the Williams FW40 is very much a natural evolution of its predecessor despite the exten- sive rule changes for 2017. Whereas other teams have explored new concepts in a bid to increase downforce levels, Williams have been happy to stick to what they know and expand upon their existing designs.</strong></p> <p>It is easy to forget that the Grove-based squad operate on a fraction of the budget that the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull do, so venturing down new design avenues is not in their best interests.</p> <p>To some extent their conservative approach has worked as although they find themselves lagging significantly behind the big three teams they are still ahead of their biggest competitor in Force India at the moment.</p> <p>Their front-wing concept is one area in particular that has seen little change over the winter period aside from the extra width and delta-shape as per the regulations, but this has been true for many teams up and down the grid (including Mercedes). However, the aerodynamics department are quickly discovering more and more about the airflow structures associated with the new tyres and constant tweaks are&nbsp;therefore being made to the front-wing and the floor area near the rear-tyre to control this flow, even during the early stages of the season.</p> <p>In Melbourne Williams intro- duced two canards (highlighted in yellow) on the front-wing endplate, which were reorientated slightly for China. These are installed to guide air along the inside face of the endplate and to control the path of the flow leaving the cascade winglet, displacing their trajectory towards the front tyre.</p> <p>The idea is the same for the small turning vane (highlighted in red) introduced in Shanghai midway up the wing &ndash; the pressure gradient induced between the two sides generates a tiny vortex that steers the surrounding airflow to a more desirable location downstream. Micromanaging the airflow in this manner is extremely delicate work and requires an immense amount of computational resources and extensive wind tunnel testing to link the aero-structures together.</p> <p>So although these updates look outwardly insignificant, their wider effects on the rest of the car help unlock a great deal of laptime.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14358https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14358Issue 211 of Motorsport Monday is out now - Advantage VettelMon, 17 Apr 2017 04:39:18 GMT<p><strong>Issue 211&nbsp;of our free weekly magazine, Motorsport Monday, is online now and packed full of great content&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;<a href="http://mmuk.realviewdigital.com/">click here</a>, or the&nbsp;link below to start reading.</strong></p> <p>Just like Lewis Hamilton did last weekend in China, so Sebastian Vettel did the same this past weekend in the desert heat that invaded the Sahkir International circuit in Bahrain.&nbsp;And while the German was never in the hunt for pole position, its was his race pace that impressed everyone. Joe Saward and Phil Horton report from Bahrain.</p> <p>Meanwhile Daniel Lloyd was in cold, windy and grey Silverstone for the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship. While Toyota walked all over the opposition during qualifying, they did not have it all their own way in the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>On top of these main reports, we have a full run down on the first races of the FIA&#39;s new incarnation of Formula 2 also from Bahrain plus the usual news, views and opinions from the rest of our award winning team. Enjoy your Easter bumper issue!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://mmuk.realviewdigital.com/"><img alt="" height="127" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Magazine/click-to-read.png" width="800" /></a></strong></p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14357https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14357Fernando Alonso 'frustrated' by 'amazing' performance deficitSun, 16 Apr 2017 19:45:29 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso has vented his frustration at the McLaren MCL32&#39;s &ldquo;amazing&rdquo; power and performance deficit compared to its rivals.</p> <p>The Spaniard struggled throughout the Bahrain Grand Prix to keep drivers behind and spent most of the race fighting just outside the points.</p> <p>He slipped back slightly in the closing stages before slowing with an engine problem, retiring in the pits with just a few laps remaining.</p> <p>Alonso regularly expressed his annoyance at his McLaren MCL32&rsquo;s lack of top speed, at one point saying: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never raced with less power in my life&rdquo;.</p> <p>McLaren seemingly lost some of the race pace it had at the first two races, while Stoffel Vandoorne was unable to make the start due to a water pressure issue.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a frustrating race,&rdquo; Alonso said. &ldquo;The deficit in power and performance we had on the straights today was amazing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Sometimes I looked in the mirrors at the beginning of the straights and saw the other cars 300, 400 metres behind, then the next thing I see when I come on the brakes is that car alongside me.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were running close to the points but that&rsquo;s not enough. Today we never had the pace we had in Australia and China, and, in the end, we had a problem and we decided to retire the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s frustrating. When the red lights go off you&rsquo;re motivated and you start fighting, but you&rsquo;re so behind on the straights that there&rsquo;s no way you can defend your position.</p> <p>&ldquo;You fight in a fair way with everyone, but you don&rsquo;t enjoy the battle. Everyone in the team has been working very hard over this weekend, day and night, but we&rsquo;ll keep working hard, and we hope to improve in due course.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14356https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14356Vettel: Splitting Mercedes drivers at the start 'crucial' for victory chargeSun, 16 Apr 2017 19:31:00 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel says splitting Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap was &ldquo;crucial&rdquo; for his victory prospects at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Vettel passed Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1 to move into second position and remained within reach of leader Bottas, who was struggling after a technical glitch left him running with too high tyre pressures.</p> <p>Vettel adopted the undercut, and benefited from a Safety Car period shortly after, to move into the lead, and he pulled away from the Mercedes pair to register his second win of the season.</p> <p>&ldquo;The start, obviously it was crucial for us to get between [the Mercedes drivers], to not allow them to get in their rhythm, pull away, do their thing,&rdquo; Vettel said.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, it upset them a bit. I think we all had more or less the same start. Mine initially was maybe a tiny bit better than Lewis, which put me just about side-by-side.</p> <p>&ldquo;But their car is really long so it&rsquo;s a long way to get side-by-side &ndash; but then I think I benefitted from the act I had a clear track ahead, Lewis was a bit stuck with Valtteri and it&rsquo;s a bit of a tricky one to judge, so I could just take lots of risk under braking and get the move done.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then, the final stint, obviously we had quite a decent gap plus the safety margin of Lewis&rsquo; penalty &ndash; which I wasn&rsquo;t sure why but it didn&rsquo;t matter at that point &ndash; and I just tried to control the gap to Valtteri, maybe pulling away a little bit and at that point just controlling the gap.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I faced the traffic I lost a lot of time but then obviously he [Hamilton] had to face traffic as well. In the end it was safe enough.</p> <p>&ldquo;At the beginning of the stint I really didn&rsquo;t push at all, just took it easy and responded to what those two guys were doing, which obviously helped me at the end because I had a lot of tyres left.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14355https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14355Lewis Hamilton takes blame for pit lane ‘misjudgement’Sun, 16 Apr 2017 19:14:09 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has offered his apologies after he was handed a five-second time penalty for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pit lane during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Hamilton had dropped to third position during the opening stint at Sakhir and a Safety Car period meant Mercedes had to service Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton on the same lap.</p> <p>Hamilton drove slowly exiting the final corner, backing up Daniel Ricciardo, and while this was legal on-track, the Briton was sanctioned for driving slowly once he entered the pit lane.</p> <p>Stewards handed Hamilton a five-second time penalty, which he served at his next stop, and he eventually recovered to second, via two team-assisted moves on Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s been a challenging weekend,&rdquo; said Hamilton, who slipped seven points behind Sebastian Vettel in the standings.</p> <p>&ldquo;The start of the race was OK but Sebastian was in my blind spot so I didn&#39;t know where he was and I lost a position there.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was really hard to follow but we generally had similar pace. Under the Safety Car, I just misjudged it myself the situation; that was my fault, so my apologies to the team.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had good pace in the second and final stints and we honestly thought we could catch Sebastian.</p> <p>&ldquo;But the five-second penalty made that twice as hard. I believe it was the right choice to go with the Soft in the final stint. I think that was the best call as I still had a long way to go.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our guys have been making good calls all year so far. I tried my best to recover from the mistake but it wasn&#39;t quite enough. We still come away with good points.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14354https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14354Valtteri Bottas frustrated by sub-par race pace in BahrainSun, 16 Apr 2017 19:07:45 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas was left disappointed as he slipped back from pole position to third place at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Bottas started from pole for the first time in his Formula 1 career at the start, but was pressured by Sebastian Vettel throughout the opening stint, with the Finn at the head of a closely-contested five-car train.</p> <p>Vettel used the undercut, and benefited from a Safety Car period, to move into the lead, while Bottas was twice instructed to let team-mate Lewis Hamilton through, with the Briton on an alternative strategy.</p> <p>Bottas eventually trailed home in third position, dropping away from Vettel and Hamilton during the final stint.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was not a good day; we had an issue with the tyre pressures at the start,&rdquo; said Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;I could really feel it in the first stint and was sliding around as early as lap two. The pace wasn&#39;t good and Sebastian put us under real pressure.</p> <p>&ldquo;I tried to extend the first stint but I couldn&#39;t keep up with the pace. The second stint was better but I was still struggling with oversteer and then I couldn&#39;t get the rear-end to work in the last stint.</p> <p>&ldquo;Under the Safety Car at the first stop there was a problem and we lost some time in the stop; maybe otherwise I would have just been in front but I know that the team will investigate the issue.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had some good racing with Sebastian after the restart but unfortunately it was just for a short moment.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;ve not had the race results that I&#39;d been hoping for so far, but will be targeting a strong weekend in Sochi.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14353https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14353Carlos Sainz Jr handed grid penalty for Lance Stroll collisionSun, 16 Apr 2017 18:20:09 GMT<p>Carlos Sainz Jr. has been given a three-place grid penalty for colliding with Lance Stroll during the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Spaniard was also awarded two penalty points on his license for the incident, bringing his 12-month total up to seven.</p> <p>Sainz emerged from the pitlane and went up the inside of Stroll into Turn 1, but the Williams took to the apex and the two cars clashed.</p> <p>It put both drivers out of the race on the spot and the safety car was deployed as a result.</p> <p>The stewards investigated the collision after the race and deemed Sainz was at fault for the contact.</p> <p>A statement from the stewards said:</p> <p>&ldquo;The stewards heard from Carlos Sainz, the driver of car No.55, Lance Stroll, the driver of car No.18 and the team representatives, reviewed the video evidence which showed that car No.18 was on the normal racing line, car No. 55 left the pit lane and made a very optimistic attempt to pass car No.18 into the corner.</p> <p>&ldquo;The stewards decided that the driver of car No.55 was predominately to blame for causing the collision in violation of Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.&rdquo;</p> <p>He will drop three places on the grid for the next event, the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14352https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14352Sebastian Vettel voted Bahrain GP Driver of the DaySun, 16 Apr 2017 18:07:53 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel has been voted Driver of the Day after taking a clear victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Ferrari racer lined up third on the grid but moved up to second place on the opening lap, before an early pitstop promoted him to the lead after an early safety car.</p> <p>He was able to extend a comfortable advantage through the second stint and next pitstop phase, although Lewis Hamilton closed in on him in the final laps.</p> <p>Vettel crossed the line 6.6 seconds clear of Hamilton to pick up his second win of the season and third in Bahrain.</p> <p>Fans were able to vote for their Driver of the Day from the halfway point, with Vettel being named the winner shortly after the chequered flag.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Race win 🏆<br /> <br /> Your <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1DriverOfTheDay?src=hash">#F1DriverOfTheDay</a> 💪<br /> <br /> Not a bad day&#39;s work for Sebastian Vettel 🙌<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BahrainGP?src=hash">#BahrainGP</a> 🇧🇭 <a href="https://t.co/CFelSZo4XJ">pic.twitter.com/CFelSZo4XJ</a></p> &mdash; Formula 1 (@F1) <a href="https://twitter.com/F1/status/853650041507950593">April 16, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>It&rsquo;s his second time of the season winning the Driver of the Day vote, having also picked up the award after his triumph at the opening round in Australia.</p> <p><strong>DRIVER OF THE DAY:</strong></p> <p>Australia - Vettel<br /> China &ndash; Verstappen<br /> Bahrain &ndash; Vettel</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14351https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14351Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima Toyota wins dramatic 6H SilverstoneSun, 16 Apr 2017 17:19:11 GMT<p><strong>A late overtake by Sebastien Buemi on Brendon Hartley handed the opening round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship to Toyota at an overcast Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>Buemi, sharing the #8 TS050 Hybrid with Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, emerged from his final pit stop with an eight second deficit to Hartley in the #2 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>Equipped with a new set of Michelin tyres, Buemi laid into his rival&#39;s advantage during the final 30-minutes, eventually getting past with an opportunistic move on the inside of the Porsche at the Loop.</p> <p>Hartley - who partnered Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard -&nbsp;crossed the finish line 6.173&nbsp;seconds behind Buemi, who claimed Toyota&#39;s first victory from pole position in the WEC since Fuji 2014.</p> <p>It also signalled the first win for Buemi, Davidson and Nakajima as a trio.</p> <p>Despite running a less competitive low-downforce aero kit compared to the high-downforce configuration used by Toyota, Porsche was able to keep in touch with the top spot through its alternate pit strategy.</p> <p>After a strong start by the Toyotas the Porsche of Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and defending world champion Neel Jani took the lead during a bout of rain during just before the midway point.</p> <p>However,&nbsp;the team lost time when the track returned to dry conditions because it had reverted to intermediate&nbsp;tyres during the shower.&nbsp;Tandy recovered to finish 47 seconds off race winner Buemi, whilst the sister car continued to push and saved time during a full course yellow period.</p> <p>That brought Hartley out in front of Buemi, until the race-winning move was completed with less than 10 minutes remaining.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s other TS050 Hybrid retired midway through the fourth hour when team debutant Jos&eacute; Mar&iacute;a L&oacute;pez skidded into the barriers at Copse.</p> <p>L&oacute;pez ran onto the outside kerb upon entry to the fast right-hander, which pitched his Toyota straight-on and through the gravel.</p> <p>L&oacute;pez was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution, whilst the Toyota mechanics got to work on sending the car back out.</p> <p>Mike Conway did manage to reach the finish, albeit 38 laps down.</p> <p>In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing won its maiden WEC event with Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent behind the wheel of the #38 ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>Jarvis took the chequered flag 19.376 seconds ahead of Nicolas Prost in the best-placed Rebellion Racing ORECA, and Mathieu Vaxiviere in the TDS Racing ORECA.</p> <p><big><strong>Ford takes GTE-Pro, Drama ensues in Am</strong></big></p> <p>GTE-Pro honours went to the pole-sitting Ford GT trio of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and additional Le Mans driver Pipo Derani who led most of the contest.</p> <p>Priaulx had to make an unscheduled pit stop early on when his opposite door became unhinged, placing the Ford on an alternate strategy that worked in its favour over the long run.</p> <p>Tincknell brought the car home 15 seconds ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari 488, shared with James Calado.</p> <p>Completing an eclectic top three in class was the Porsche 911 RSR of Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, which took over the reins of Porsche&#39;s GT effort after a fourth-hour&nbsp;engine fire forced its sister car to retire early.</p> <p>A dramatic finish decided the result in GTE-Am, with Singaporean outfit Clearwater Racing taking its maiden WEC victory through an incident between the second and third placed cars.</p> <p>Miguel Molina (Spirit of Race Ferrari) and Pedro Lamy (Aston Martin Racing) tangled at the final corner, with ex-DTM star Molina heading into the gravel and Lamy losing time through a 360-degrees rotation.</p> <p>That enabled Matt Griffin to scamper through and take an unlikely victory for himself and team-mates Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sun.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14350https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14350Sebastian Vettel victorious, Lewis Hamilton second in BahrainSun, 16 Apr 2017 16:48:19 GMT<p>Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel secured his second victory of the 2017 Formula 1 season, beating Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton during a tense strategic scrap at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Vettel moved up to second place at the start, passing Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1, with polesitter Valtteri Bottas holding onto the lead in the early stages.</p> <p>Ferrari opted to pit Vettel before his rivals and it proved to be well-timed, taking place just prior to the safety car being deployed to clear Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz&rsquo;s damaged cars after they clashed at Turn 1.</p> <p>Bottas dived into the pits, with Hamilton backing up Daniel Riccardo so he could also stop for fresh tyres, giving Vettel the lead when the race restarted.</p> <p>From there, Vettel was able to establish a comfortable advantage, with Bottas struggling and eventually falling behind Hamilton before an early second stop.</p> <p>Vettel pitted a few laps later, with Hamilton going longer on his middle stint and having to serve a five-second time penalty for backing up Ricciardo at his first stop.</p> <p>This allowed Vettel to extend his lead further through the second pitstop phase, with Bottas briefly moving up to second before being displaced by a charging Hamilton.</p> <p>Vettel crossed the line to take his second win of the season and third win in Bahrain, with Hamilton second and Bottas in third.</p> <p>Kimi Raikkonen came home close behind in fourth, with Ricciardo fifth in the sole Red Bull to finish &ndash; Max Verstappen having crashed out with brake failure just before the safety car period for the Stroll/Sainz clasg.</p> <p>Felipe Massa ran as high as fourth but slipped to sixth as the race progressed, with Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon completing the top 10.</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein, Daniil Kvyat and Jolyon Palmer were next up as Fernando Alonso battled towards the lower end of the midfield but pulled into the garage late on with a power unit issue. Marcus Ericsson, Sainz, Stroll and Verstappen also failed to finish.</p> <p>Kevin Magnussen retired early on for Haas with an issue, pulling off track at Turn 8. Meanwhile, the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne failed to make the race start due to a power unit problem.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14349https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14349Charles Leclerc storms to F2 sprint race victory with strategy gambleSun, 16 Apr 2017 12:19:33 GMT<p>Prema driver Charles Leclerc took victory in dramatic style in the Formula 2 sprint race in Bahrain after a brave strategy gamble.</p> <p>The Ferrari junior enjoyed a strong start to move from fifth to third on the opening lap, before an early safety car to clear Norman Nato&rsquo;s damaged car after contact with Oliver Rowland.</p> <p>When racing resumed, Leclerc quickly displaced Alexander Albon around the outside at Turn 4 and the French racer then took the lead from Luca Ghiotto on lap nine.</p> <p>Artem Markelov started on soft tyres and was challenging at the front when he pitted on the next lap for fresh medium tyres, an unusual strategy for a sprint race.</p> <p>Prema were clearly keeping an eye on his pace, with drivers expected to struggle making it to the end on the medium tyres. So, the team opted for &ldquo;plan B&rdquo; with Leclerc.</p> <p>He opened up a strong lead before pitting with eight laps remaining for soft tyres, emerging in 14th place and quickly starting to claw back ground - he was four seconds per lap quicker than the leaders at one point.</p> <p>He latched onto the battling frontrunners Ghiotto and Rowland with one lap to go, moving up to second on the main straight before displacing Ghiotto at Turn 4 after the Russian Time driver ran deep into the corner.</p> <p>Leclerc stormed to his first F2 win in his debut weekend, with Ghiotto hanging onto second and Rowland in third to complete the podium.</p> <p>Nicholas Latifi was fourth, with Jordan King in fifth after a feisty drive and Nyck de Vries in sixth. Albon slipped to seventh.</p> <p>Markelov&rsquo;s strategy did not work quite as well as Leclerc&rsquo;s but he rallied back to eighth and the final point. Johnny Cecotto and Antonio Fuoco &ndash; who lost ground late on &ndash; rounded out the top 10.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14348https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14348World Endurance Championship set to change GTE format in 2018Sun, 16 Apr 2017 10:55:28 GMT<p><strong>The format for the World Endurance Championship GTE categories will be altered in 2018, according to several key members of the organising committee.</strong></p> <p>During a press conference ahead of the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone, FIA President Jean Todt said there would be a push to give GTE &quot;even more visibility&quot; in the coming years.</p> <p>Head of the FIA Endurance Commission Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones added that this would involve a change in format to enhance the status of the category, which recently gained recognition as a licenced world championship for the upcoming season.</p> <p>&quot;We are working on a format with some creative ideas on how to give the GT cars more visibility within the race wekeends to make that very attractive for the fans,&quot; said Owen-Jones.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s too early to say exactly what we are going to do but we should be able to come back with some news fairly soon.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We would expect to see some evolution of the format itself by the beginning of next year.&quot;</p> <p>The GTE-Pro category is currently entered by Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin and Porsche, with BMW set to join in 2018.</p> <p>GTE-Am, meanwhile, has attracted only five entries for 2017 and could be exposed to the upcoming wave of changes.</p> <p>The announcement was made after Todt, Owen-Jones and ACO President Pierre Fillon signed a contract extension for the WEC lasting through to 2020.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14347https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14347Alessandro Pier Guidi (Ferrari): We are pushing, but it won't be easySun, 16 Apr 2017 10:02:27 GMT<p><strong>Ferrari factory GT driver Alessandro Pier Guidi believes tyre management will be key to overturning a pace deficit against his team&#39;s&nbsp;rival manufacturers during the&nbsp;6 Hours of Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>The 33-year-old Italian joins&nbsp;works squad AF Corse for his first full campaign in the World Endurance Championship, sharing the #51 Ferrari 488 with James Calado.</p> <p>However, based on practice and qualifying times, Ferrari is not displaying the pace of 12 months ago when it dominated the Silverstone opener from start to finish.</p> <p>Both Ferraris propped up the tail end of the GTE-Pro class order during opening practice on Friday, and in qualifying Pier Guidi and Calado only managed to record the sixth best time, some 1.2 seconds off the pole figure set by Ford.</p> <p>Pier Guidi linked the drop in performance to the Balance of Performance ratio set before the start of the season, which is taking on a new, algorithm-based system in a bid to take out the human decisions that caused controversy amongst the GTE manufacturers last year.</p> <p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t think we can do anything more because of the BoP system that we have this weekend,&quot; Pier Guidi told Motorsport Week.com.</p> <p>&quot;We are pushing hard but at the moment this is the best we can do. We are trying to push harder but we don&rsquo;t expect to be super competitive and compete against Ford.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We are not in an easy position but we will do our best.&quot;</p> <p>Although Ferrari says it is struggling in the power department, Pier Guidi asserted that tyre management will be equally important to the final outcome of the race.</p> <p>Silverstone is a high-grip circuit with several harsh cornering zones,&nbsp;meaning tyre degradation is at a premium.</p> <p>Further, with the new GTE-Pro regulations stipulating a reduction from six to four sets of rubber during qualifying and the race, an even greater emphasis is placed on the endurance aspect that Pier Guidi believes could help Ferrari where its pace is lacking.</p> <p>&quot;We have to save and look after the tyres,&quot; said Pier Guidi.</p> <p>&quot;This year we are required to do two double stints with the tyres. It&rsquo;s important that we do a good job with car set up to save the tyres during the second stint, and if we do that well we will gain time and get a good result.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s important to have a quick car, but also equally important to make sure the tyres don&rsquo;t drop off. It&rsquo;s difficult to do this &ndash; the weather conditions are not easy because at Silverstone it is often damp, as it has been in practice,&nbsp;or very cold and the tyres start to grain quite quickly here. But I&rsquo;m confident to have a good setup for the race.&quot;</p> <p>Pier Guidi feels he is coming into GTE-Pro at the right time. Despite the BoP contentions, the category is reaching what may be considered a golden era, with the FIA upgrading its drivers&#39; championship trophy to a full world championship accolade that places it on par with the LMP1 crown in terms of importance.</p> <p>&quot;I think with GTE we are reaching the same level of performance we had with GT1 in the past, which I drove in with Maserati,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;In GTE-Pro the grid is only&nbsp;manufacturers, so I&rsquo;d say it&rsquo;s more competitive than GT1 because the car brands are competing directly against each other.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;This is the biggest moment for GTE-Pro, because it has four manufacturers and next year we gain another one in BMW.&quot;</p> <p>The 2017 season marks a watershed for Pier Guidi, who has been toiling away as an AF Corse driver representing Ferrari&#39;s numerous global customer outfits since switching from single seaters to GTs in 2005.</p> <p>Following a test with other prospective factory assets last year - including Miguel Molina and Nyck de Vries - Pier Guidi was chosen as the best candidate and consequently takes his place in the manufacturer&#39;s most prestigious team outside Formula One.</p> <p>His pedigree is capped by a class victory at the Daytona 24 Hours in 2014, plus multiple wins and pole positions in the Blancpain GT Series and European Le Mans Series.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s great to be here [in WEC] with Ferrari. As an Italian being with Ferrari is something special.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I have driven for Ferrari for a long time but finally I am a factory driver and this is my first season in WEC. Yes, I did Le Mans last year but finally I am doing the full season.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s not going to be easy this year because I think GTE-Pro is by far the most competitive class in the championship, so we have to push hard to reach the goal at the end of the season.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;My results in ELMS and Blancpain last season helped me to get here, for sure. If you are quick in those series you will get noticed, and I think performing well at that level with AF Corse enabled me to get the Ferrari factory drive in WEC.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I still love racing in all those series because they are all very serious but WEC is the top, the maximum. It&rsquo;s my biggest priority this season to do well in WEC, but equally I still enjoy racing in Blancpain because I came up from that championship to be where I am today.&quot;</p> <p>Pier Guidi, Calado and the rest of the GTE-Pro field will line up for the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone at 12:00 local time.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14346https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14346Callum Ilott caps Silverstone F3 weekend with victorySun, 16 Apr 2017 09:08:49 GMT<p>Prema&rsquo;s Callum Ilott claimed victory during the final race of the opening round of the European Formula 3 Championship at Silverstone on Sunday morning.</p> <p>Ilott started from pole position but, as in the second race, lost the lead to Motopark rival Joel Eriksson, who went around the outside through Brooklands.</p> <p>However, Ilott remained glued to the rear of his rival and swept past into Stowe, moving into a lead which he would not relinquish, ultimately finishing comfortably clear.</p> <p>Eriksson had a sufficient buffer back to McLaren junior Lando Norris, who once again bogged down from the front row before battling through to third, via a move on Maximilian Gunther into Stowe.</p> <p>Gunther kept Carlin pair Jake Dennis and Jehan Daruvala at bay to secure fourth position, while one-time Force India tester Nikita Mazepin took his best F3 result with seventh.</p> <p>Joey Mawson, Harrison Newey and Ralf Aron completed the top 10, with Prema pair Mick Schumacher and Guan Yu Zhou dropping out of contention after separate incidents early on.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14345https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14345Fernando Alonso fears tough race after power unit changeSat, 15 Apr 2017 18:29:52 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso says he is braced for a tougher-than-expected Bahrain Grand Prix after McLaren was forced to change the power unit in his MCL32 following another reliability issue during qualifying.</p> <p>Alonso suffered an MGU-H failure during Q2 and he was unable to complete a flying lap, leaving him down in 15th position.</p> <p>Honda is still investigating the cause of the failure, with the manufacturer also evaluating whether it was related to the MGU-H issue which halted Stoffel Vandoorne during practice.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think until the last corner [my lap] was half a second better than my Q1 time, then I went on the throttle and there was an issue in the power unit,&rdquo; said Alonso.</p> <p>&ldquo;That hurt, because we had a chance of being a couple of places up, and tomorrow we&rsquo;ll have to fit a new power unit, which won&rsquo;t have the perfect settings or calibration.</p> <p>&ldquo;The first lap the engine gets will be the formation lap, so it won&rsquo;t get any warm-up, we won&rsquo;t get any laps to tune it, and we&rsquo;ll probably therefore have an even tougher race than we&rsquo;d expected.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The guys in the garage work day and night to prepare the car, there are parts we keep changing, we keep testing the updates, there&rsquo;s hard work behind every weekend, but we don&rsquo;t have a competitive power unit to fight at the front.&rdquo;</p> <p>Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was eliminated in Q1 and will start from 17th place on the grid.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything was more or less OK with my laps,&rdquo; said the Belgian youngster.</p> <p>&ldquo;I struggled a little bit with the brakes on the second run and had a couple of lock-ups, so I was lacking a little bit of confidence.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I think the lap was more or less the maximum possible &ndash; I don&rsquo;t think there was much more left in the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our results are more or less the same as they have been during the past couple of races, so I don&rsquo;t think we expected anything different here this weekend.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14344https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14344Video: 6 Hours of Silverstone qualifying highlightsSat, 15 Apr 2017 18:06:37 GMT<p>Watch highlights from a busy qualifying for the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the season-opening FIA World Endurance Championship round.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14343https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14343Daniel Ricciardo 'surprised' to split Ferrari duoSat, 15 Apr 2017 18:01:58 GMT<p>Red Bull&#39;s Daniel Ricciardo says he was &ldquo;surprised&rdquo; to split the Ferrari drivers during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>The Red Bull RB13 has been firmly the third-quickest car on this year&rsquo;s grid, lagging behind rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, across the opening two rounds of the season.</p> <p>The team was a little off the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari during Friday practice in Bahrain, but Max Verstappen was fastest in FP3.</p> <p>Ricciardo thought a spot on the second row of the grid could have been possible in qualifying, but only if everything went smoothly.</p> <p>He ended up splitting the Ferrari drivers in Q3 to secure fourth on the grid, a better result than he expected.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a good and positive day today,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t expect much to change from China to here but now we&rsquo;re a lot closer to pole than we were a week ago so we&rsquo;ll take that.</p> <p>&ldquo;To be on the second row and to get ahead of a Ferrari is a good surprise. We kind of thought if we put everything together then there might be a chance of a second row and we got it.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re learning and are getting a bit more out of the car as well which is great to see. If tomorrow Mercedes and Ferrari run into some tyre degradation maybe we can have a bit of a go.</p> <p>&ldquo;But the aim now is to try and maintain this gap in the race and stay within half a second or second each lap and to replicate our pace during qualifying in the long runs.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14342https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14342Valtteri Bottas thrilled by maiden Formula 1 pole positionSat, 15 Apr 2017 17:34:34 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas expressed delight as he claimed pole position for the first time in his Formula 1 career at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Bottas, having qualified third for the opening two rounds of the season, embarked on a head-to-head duel with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Q3 at Sakhir.</p> <p>Hamilton led the way after the first runs but Bottas fought back, edging 0.023s clear of the Briton&rsquo;s benchmark lap, and was assured of pole position when Hamilton failed to improve.</p> <p>&ldquo;Obviously I&rsquo;m really happy, it&rsquo;s my first pole in my career, my fifth season now in Formula 1 so it took a few races but we got it, and hopefully it&rsquo;s the first of many,&rdquo; said Bottas.</p> <p>&ldquo;I just wanted to say a big thanks to the team giving me this car to drive it on pole and we&rsquo;re both starting in the front row.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve made a really good job this weekend to focus on the evening conditions and to get a lot of lap time out of this car in slightly cooler conditions.</p> <p>&ldquo;Hopefully that&rsquo;s going to help us tomorrow as well so I&rsquo;m grateful to the team.</p> <p>A magnanimous Hamilton heaped praise on Bottas and conceded that he lacked pace through the first sector.</p> <p>&ldquo;A big congratulations to Valtteri, he&rsquo;s been working so hard, he&rsquo;s gelled so well with the team, today he was just quicker, did the better job, so hats off to him,&rdquo; said Hamilton.</p> <p>&ldquo;My first lap felt great, I looked up [at the timing screens] and the time was so close I thought &lsquo;wow that was a great lap, he [Bottas] did a great job&rsquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was losing quite a bit of time through first sector, generally it&rsquo;s my weaker point, actually unusual, as usually it&rsquo;s a stronger point for me.</p> <p>&ldquo;Valtteri found some great pace through first sector, my second and third sector ended up being quite good, overall a little bit down.</p> <p>&ldquo;But it was a great battle, that&rsquo;s how close qualifying should always be, it forces us to be on the limit, I&rsquo;m generally happy with the job I did and great for the team to be 1-2.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14341https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14341Sebastian Vettel: Gap to Mercedes bigger than expectedSat, 15 Apr 2017 17:26:12 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel has admitted the gap to the two Mercedes drivers in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying was larger than he expected.</p> <p>Valtteri Bottas took pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit, finishing qualifying just 0.023 seconds ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.</p> <p>Vettel was a slightly distant third, just under half a second behind the Mercedes front row lockout and a few tenths clear of Daniel Ricciardo&rsquo;s Red Bull in fourth.</p> <p>The four-time champion and Australian GP race winner was pleased with his performance and laps in Q3, but was disappointed with the gap to the frontrunners.</p> <p>&ldquo;Overall I was very happy with how qualifying went, with how the car felt,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We had some issues yesterday, nothing wrong but we tweaked the balance for today in the right direction.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was happy with how it turned out, Q2 I thought &lsquo;OK this will be tight&rsquo;, happy to go into Q3. I was happy with my first lap, crossed the line, looked up and saw both of them were ahead.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I got the time I was a bit down, four tenths was a lot more than I expected given how good the lap felt.</p> <p>&ldquo;On the last run, I tried probably too hard everywhere, we had nothing to lose. I tried a bit harder but didn&#39;t work, was slightly slower.</p> <p>&ldquo;Being a tenth quick [wouldn&#39;t be] good enough but I tried. Hopefully we can do a bit more tomorrow.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14340https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14340Valtteri Bottas beats Lewis Hamilton to pole position in BahrainSat, 15 Apr 2017 16:14:48 GMT<p>Valtteri Bottas will start the Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position after setting the pace in qualifying for the first time in his Formula 1 career.</p> <p>The Finnish driver looked close to Lewis Hamilton in the first two segments of qualifying but trailed his Mercedes team-mate.</p> <p>Bottas held onto second place after the opening runs of Q3, but put in a 1:28.769 to take provisional pole. Hamilton suffered a poor final part of the lap and couldn&rsquo;t beat him.</p> <p>So, Bottas clinched his first pole position and put in the quickest ever lap of the Bahrain International Circuit, with Hamilton locking out the front row.</p> <p>Sebastian Vettel was a slightly distant third, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.</p> <p>Both Renault cars made it through to Q3, with Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer seventh and 10th, separated by Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean.</p> <p>Daniil Kvyat ran wide on his last Q2 lap and was the first to be eliminated in 11th, with Lance Stroll 12th for Williams, ahead of the returning Pascal Wehrlein.</p> <p>Esteban Ocon could only manage 14th, with Fernando Alonso failing to set a time after a power unit problem.</p> <p>Carlos Sainz Jr. stopped on track in Q1 and was the first to be eliminated, with Stoffel Vandoorne also dropping out.</p> <p>Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen were 18th and 20th after being held up by the yellow flags for Sainz&rsquo;s stranded Toro Rosso, separated by Marcus Ericsson.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14339https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14339Pirelli confirms 2017 F1 tyre testing programmeSat, 15 Apr 2017 14:57:28 GMT<p>Pirelli has confirmed its tyre testing schedule for the 2017 campaign, with all 10 teams set to be in action across eight different venues this year.</p> <p>Pirelli is permitted to undertake 25 private test days in order to carry out development of its tyres, and this year all Formula 1 teams will be involved in the running.</p> <p>Last season, only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull participated, supplying modified 2015 machinery, as Pirelli prepared to introduce its wider tyres.</p> <p>As was the case last year, drivers and teams will not be aware of the compounds in use, with all data to be shared across the paddock.</p> <p><strong>Pirelli&#39;s 2017 tyre testing calendar:</strong></p> <p>April 18: Sakhir, Ferrari</p> <p>May 16/17: Barcelona, Renault and Toro Rosso</p> <p>May 31/June 1: Paul Ricard, Red Bull*</p> <p>June 29/30: Paul Ricard, Red Bull</p> <p>July 18/19: Silverstone, Williams and Haas</p> <p>July 19/20: Magny Cours, McLaren*</p> <p>August 1 or 2: Budapest, Mercedes</p> <p>August 3/4: Barcelona, Ferrari</p> <p>September 7/8: Paul Ricard, Mercedes</p> <p>October 31/November 1: Mexico City, Sauber and Force India</p> <p>November 14/15: Interlagos, McLaren</p> <p>* Wet tyre testing</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14338https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14338Mario Andretti expects Fernando Alonso to easily adapt to oval racingSat, 15 Apr 2017 13:44:55 GMT<p><strong>Motorsport legend Mario Andretti firmly believes double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will easily adapt to oval racing when the Spaniard begins preparing for the 101st Indianapolis 500 in May.</strong></p> <p>In a decision which shocked the motorsport community, Alonso has decided to miss the Monaco Grand Prix in favour of competing in the Indianapolis 500.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Spaniard will join forces with current F1 team McLaren, engine supplier Honda and full-time IndyCar outfit Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;s going to adapt to this style of racing, I suspect he&rsquo;s going to be right there, top 10 or top 12 for most of the race and then toward the end he&rsquo;ll be really finding his way,&rdquo; explained Andretti in an interview with <i>Motorsport.com</i>.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;s got a great opportunity to go home very happy.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s face it, it&rsquo;s adapting to ovals, not the cars themselves, that we&nbsp;need to think about here.</p> <p>&ldquo;A driver in a race car is looking for a feel, and the best drivers &ndash; and Fernando is one of the very, very best &ndash; will always find it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It may not be his regular environment, but a top driver will find a way to relate to any true race car.&rdquo;</p> <p>Oval racing in America is a distinctly different form of motorsport in comparison to conventional circuit racing in Europe and the rest of the world.</p> <p>On ovals drivers compete at constant high speeds in excess of 220mph, therefore greatly exacerbating any mistakes made during races which usually consist of 200 laps or more.</p> <p>&ldquo;At Indianapolis like nowhere else he&rsquo;s ever raced, it&rsquo;s going to be constant high speed, and that can be brutal,&rdquo; continued Andretti.</p> <p>&ldquo;The slightest mistake is magnified at 225mph.</p> <p>&ldquo;And the other thing to remind him is not to overcorrect.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Road-racing specialists have a tendency to overcorrect on ovals &ndash; we&rsquo;ve seen many examples in IndyCar in the past.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you feel yourself losing the back end, you almost have to let it go.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;If you put on too much opposite lock and the car then grips and follows its front wheels, you&rsquo;re going head-on into the wall.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14337https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14337Max Verstappen leads Bahrain final practice sessionSat, 15 Apr 2017 13:06:51 GMT<p>Red Bull&rsquo;s Max Verstappen finished quickest during the final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, as three different teams filled the leading three positions.</p> <p>Verstappen registered a time of 1:32.194 during the final few minutes of the session to wind up 0.110s clear of Mercedes&rsquo; Lewis Hamilton, with Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel third.</p> <p>Vettel, who was over half a second adrift of Verstappen, edged Valtteri Bottas by just 0.004s, with Ferrari team-mate Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen only 0.031s further back.</p> <p>Felipe Massa bagged sixth spot for Williams, moving 0.008s clear of Red Bull&rsquo;s Daniel Ricciardo, as Nico H&uuml;lkenberg placed Renault firmly inside the top 10, the last of the drivers to set a time in the 1:32s.</p> <p>Carlos Sainz Jr. completed the most laps as he attempted to make up ground lost with his FP2 stoppage and clocked the ninth best time, leaving Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat to round out the top 10.</p> <p>Sergio P&eacute;rez took 11<sup>th</sup>, ahead of Fernando Alonso, while Sauber returnee Pascal Wehrlein hauled himself up to 13<sup>th</sup> spot with a late lap.</p> <p>The only incident of note came when Haas&rsquo; Romain Grosjean lost control of his VF-17 exiting Turn 4 and spun into the barriers on the inside of the corner.</p> <p>The session was briefly red-flagged, though Grosjean was able to recover to the pit lane, and re-appeared on-track during the final few minutes.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14336https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14336Toyota sweeps front row in Silverstone qualifyingSat, 15 Apr 2017 13:01:01 GMT<p><strong>Mike Conway recovered from a lap time deletion to secure pole position for Toyota&nbsp;at the Silverstone round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>Conway needed to complete two extra laps behind the wheel of the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid after running wide at Copse, but a recovery drive ensured he and team-mate Kamui Kobayashi claimed the first pole position of 2017, and the team&#39;s first in three years.</p> <p>A record breaking 1:36.793s lap&nbsp;by Kobayashi put the #7 car almost a second up&nbsp;after the first set of runs, before Conway consolidated the time to generate a 1:37.304s average.</p> <p>That put the duo 0.289 seconds ahead of Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson, who both scored quicker than Conway&#39;s individual time but couldn&#39;t bridge the gap to Kobayashi.</p> <p>The nearest Porsche 919 Hybrid finished 1.311 seconds off the pace on average, with Nick Tandy and defending world champion Neel Jani qualifying the #1 car.</p> <p>Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley completed the LMP1 Hybrid order in their Porsche.</p> <p>In LMP2, G-Drive Racing clinched its second consecutive Silverstone 6 Hours&nbsp;pole with Alex Lynn and Pierre Thiriet leading the way on a 1:44.387s average score.</p> <p>Reigning class champion Nicolas Lapierre and Signatech Alpine team-mate Matt Rao qualified second, in front of Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung in the Jackie Chan DC Racing machine.</p> <p>Andy Priaulx stole the show in GTE-Pro qualifying as Ford took its third WEC pole position some eight tenths ahead of the second-placed Ferrari.</p> <p>A 1:55.858s flyer by Priaulx gave the #67 Ford GT a huge advantage before team-mate Harry Tincknell came in to record the second quickest time in consolidation.</p> <p>That left the other crews to scrap over the secondary front row spot&nbsp;on the grid, with the Ferrari 488 duo of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon recording&nbsp;a 1:57.011s average to edge out the Nicki Thiim/Marco S&oslash;rensen&nbsp;Aston Martin.</p> <p>Completing the top five in class were the Stefan M&uuml;cke/Olivier Pla Ford and the Darren Turner/Jonny Adam Aston.</p> <p>In GTE-Am, Aston Martin claimed pole position with Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana qualifying 1.046 seconds ahead of the Ferrari driven by Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14335https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14335Artem Markelov victorious in F2 season-openerSat, 15 Apr 2017 11:32:41 GMT<p>Russian Time&rsquo;s Artem Markelov got the new Formula 2 era and season off to a spectacular start with a charging drive to victory in the Bahrain feature race.</p> <p>He had a good start and featured in the lead battle with Norman Nato and polesitter Charles Leclerc early on, but staying out for a few extra laps in the pitstop phase lost him time.</p> <p>Markelov emerged a slightly distant third but on fresher tyres, he closed in on the leading duo with a few laps left to go.</p> <p>Having lost the lead to Nato after a stunning pass around the outside at Turn 4, Leclerc was the first to come under pressure from Markelov.</p> <p>He was passed with three laps to go, with Nato looking clear out front. But Markelov&rsquo;s pace advantage was so great, he was soon all over the back of the leading Arden.</p> <p>Markelov snatched first place on the penultimate lap to secure victory at the F2 season-opener, his second-ever win at the wheel of the Dallara GP2/11. Nato and Leclerc rounded out the podium.</p> <p>Jordan King was fourth for MP Motorsport, with Oliver Rowland recovering from a poor qualifying and difficult opening few laps to finish fifth.</p> <p>Alexander Albon was sixth for ART, ahead of Markelov&rsquo;s Russian Time team-mate Luca Ghiotto and Honda junior Nobuharu Matsushita &ndash; who will start from reversed-grid pole for Sunday&rsquo;s sprint race.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14334https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14334Joel Eriksson wins second European F3 race at SilverstoneSat, 15 Apr 2017 11:15:02 GMT<p>Motopark racer and BMW junior driver Joel Eriksson stormed to victory in the second European Formula 3 race of the weekend at Silverstone.</p> <p>The Swedish driver moved into the lead on lap one after a strong start and feisty move around the outside of Callum Ilott at Brooklands.</p> <p>From there, he opened up a three-second lead in the opening laps. Despite Ilott closing in on him around the halfway mark, he was able to move clear as the race finish edged closer.</p> <p>Eriksson got his 2017 season off to an impressive start with his second European F3 win. Ilott crossed the line close behind in second place.</p> <p>The duo were well clear of the rest of the field, with Jake Hughes a distant third. Maximilian G&uuml;nther was fourth, just holding off Jake Dennis.</p> <p>Mick Schumacher was the lead rookie in sixth place, with Guan Yu Zhou and Jehan Daruvala next up after picking up a place on the last lap.</p> <p>Race one winner Lando Norris had a poor start and had recovered to seventh, but a move on Schumacher around the outside of Copse on the final lap failed to pay off and he dropped to ninth.</p> <p>Harrison Newey completed the top 10 to score the final point.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14333https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14333Toyota edges Porsche in 6H Silverstone warm upSat, 15 Apr 2017 09:47:44 GMT<p><strong>Anthony Davidson struck late to give Toyota the edge heading into qualifying for the Silverstone round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>The British driver topped the 60-minute Saturday morning session with a time of 1:39.476s behind the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.</p> <p>Porsche had been in one-two formation for most of the morning, but Davidson&#39;s late attempt put the Japanese marque in front for the third consecutive practice session.</p> <p>Second quickest was Neel Jani in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, who set a 1:40.223s marker that&nbsp;Davidson eclipsed by seven tenths of a second.</p> <p><a href="http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com/Results/07_2017/01_SILVERSTONE/154_FIA%20WEC/201704150940_Free%20Practice%203/03_Classification_Free%20Practice%203.PDF"><strong>Result: 6H Silverstone FP3</strong></a></p> <p>Third was the sister Porsche, ahead of the #7 Toyota which is currently under investigation by the stewards following an incident between Jos&eacute; Mar&iacute;a L&oacute;pez and the Aston Martin driven by Paul Dalla Lana.</p> <p>L&oacute;pez clipped the front of Dalla Lana&#39;s Am-class Aston exiting Luffield, with the resulting contact forcing&nbsp;the Canadian driver&nbsp;to limp his car back to the pits with a left-front puncture.</p> <p>The Toyota escaped without any noticeceable damage, although L&oacute;pez was close to skirting the gravel on the outside of the corner.</p> <p>In LMP2, Alex Lynn topped the order with a 1:44.485s time aboard the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>GTE-Pro was led by the pair of Chip Ganassi-run Ford GTs, ahead of the two Ferrari 488s entered by AF Corse.</p> <p>Pedro Lamy paced GTE-Am in the #98 Aston Martin that ran into trouble late in the session.</p> <p>Qualifying for the WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone takes place later today (Saturday, April 15th) at 13:00 local time.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14332https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14332Jean-Eric Vergne calling on F1 experience ahead of WEC debutSat, 15 Apr 2017 07:27:00 GMT<p><strong>Jean-Eric Vergne believes the intricacies of driving in Formula One&nbsp;will play to his advantage at this weekend&#39;s Silverstone World Endurance Championship opener.</strong></p> <p>The 26-year-old Frenchman is set to make his prototype racing debut this weekend, having spent the past six seasons on the Formula One circuit.</p> <p>Sharing the #24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing-entered ORECA 07-Gibson with Tor Graves and Jonathan Hirschi, Vergne is hoping to call on his previous single seater experience to rank highly amongst the competitive LMP2 field.</p> <p>&ldquo;Based on the first practice session, I think the race will be won both on pace and in the pits because there seems to be quite high tyre degradation,&rdquo; Vergne told Motorsport Week.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will make the difference if all three of our drivers are able to make the tyres last longer than the other teams, and that&rsquo;s where my experience can be very useful.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;In Formula One I had to do a lot of tyre saving with the high-degradation Pirelli tyres, so I think those skills will prove to be very useful this weekend and in the rest of the WEC.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;So far I&rsquo;m very pleased with everything I have seen &ndash; ORECA has produced an amazing car but the problem is everybody has one so it is close!&rdquo;</p> <p>Vergne arrives in the WEC seeking to forge a new career in sportscars, following a long tenure carving his way through the single seater ladder.</p> <p>Having reached the heights of Formula One with Toro Rosso from 2012 to 2014, he signed on as chief reserve driver for the main Ferrari team last year.</p> <p>After one season with the Scuderia, Vergne left to pursue a new career thread, and managed to use his time in the F1 paddock to connect with Graham Lowdon and John Booth &ndash; architects of the former Manor F1 team &ndash; whose sportscar outfit is entering its sophomore year in WEC.</p> <p>That opportunity to drive in prototypes means Vergne is now open to pursuing a new works-based programme in closed-cockpit racing &ndash; an opportunity his F1 roles have forced him to reject in the past.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:left"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/jmo1714ap27.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Vergne&#39;s 2017 ride with Manor</figcaption> </figure> <p>&ldquo;LMP1 would be really nice for me,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had an opportunity to drive with Porsche two years ago in LMP1, but I couldn&rsquo;t because of my commitments with Ferrari.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;But now I have the opportunity to gain some good experience in LMP2 and hopefully a good opportunity will come back up to race in the top class.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vergne hasn&rsquo;t cut&nbsp;his single seater ties completely, having agreed a deal with the Techeetah Formula E team for the current season.</p> <p>So far, he has claimed two podiums from four races, and sits a respectable fourth in the standings heading into the next round at Monaco.</p> <p>Keeping one hand in the Formula E pie means Vergne is continuing to drive with machines that require cutting-edge technology, which he hopes can make him an ideal candidate for a seat on board an LMP1 hybrid in the future.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think my experience in Formula E will benefit me in trying to get an LMP1 drive &ndash; definitely,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Formula E gave me a lot of experience in saving energy and making the power last. That will be useful in LMP2 because we are going to have to do a lot fuel saving this year, and also with the technology in LMP1.&rdquo;</p> <p>Adjusting to a new environment brings its own raft of challenges, but Vergne is confident that he can override these and become an accomplished prototype racer.</p> <p>Although he missed the WEC pre-season test at Monza to race in the Buenos Aires ePrix, he has already accrued enough miles behind the wheel to feel comfortable with the dynamics of the Manor ORECA.</p> <p>However, there were a couple of things that required some reconfiguration, such as driving a car with a roof and an extra pane of glass in front of the visor.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of weird to be honest,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s much harder to see, and you can&rsquo;t feel the wind or the speed in the same way you do in single seaters. But, I&rsquo;ve got used to the sensations quite quickly, and I&rsquo;m now fully used to it.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think the level of driver competition is very high [in WEC LMP2], and the cars are really nice to drive. Plus, doing the WEC means doing Le Mans, which I put as one of the top three races in the world. There are lots of positives to driving in this championship.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vergne and his team-mates begin their nine-race WEC campaign this weekend at the 6 Hours of Silverstone.</p> <p>The event is scheduled to get underway at 12:00 local time on Sunday, April 16th, with qualifying bookmarked for Saturday afternoon.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14331https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14331Stoffel Vandoorne going into qualifying 'blind' after practice problemsFri, 14 Apr 2017 19:43:10 GMT<p>McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne says he heads into qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix &ldquo;a bit blind&rdquo; following a difficult day of practice.</p> <p>The Belgian racer suffered engine problems in both first and second practice on Friday, limiting his on-track running.</p> <p>During FP1, his floor was changed, before he lost more time due to a MGU-H issue and McLaren completed a full power unit change.</p> <p>A late start to FP2 saw him return to the track but mid-way through the session his car was hit by another MGU-H problem, with McLaren replacing that element for Saturday.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been another troublesome day for me, let&rsquo;s say,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;In FP1 we had some engine problems and again in FP2, so very limited running for me today.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a shame to miss that much track time, especially in FP2 when the conditions are very similar to qualifying and the race.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not been ideal, but hopefully tomorrow we&rsquo;ll have a smoother run and get on top of the issues.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going a bit blind into qualifying tomorrow, but Fernando did a lot of running today which was positive.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll have to start with a bit of a base of information from Fernando&rsquo;s side of the garage, but I&rsquo;m sure it&rsquo;ll be useful for us as well.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our reliability issues have meant the start of the season hasn&rsquo;t been ideal, as there hasn&rsquo;t been a weekend yet where we haven&rsquo;t had any issues.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vandoorne finished as the slowest of the 20 drivers, almost three seconds off the pace.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14330https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14330Christian Horner urges ban on T-wings after £50k damage to Max Verstappen's carFri, 14 Apr 2017 19:08:52 GMT<p>Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has renewed his call for a ban on T-wings after Max Verstappen&rsquo;s car sustained a suspected &pound;50,000 worth of damage during practice in Bahrain.</p> <p>The T-wing on Valtteri Bottas&rsquo; Mercedes fell off during the second practice session at Sakhir, the second time it has done so in as many races, and Verstappen struck the loose debris through Turns 12/13.</p> <p>Verstappen spent a chunk of the session stranded in the pit lane as Red Bull undertook repairs to his RB13 and Horner says the aero devices should be outlawed from the regulations.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today it probably did about &pound;50,000 worth of damage,&rdquo; Horner said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It should be banned under the grounds of safety and cost and not just because we don&rsquo;t have one.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s unfortunate, a bit of debris on the circuit [having] fallen off of Bottas&rsquo; car, Max was the unlucky victim who was the first car at speed to come across it.</p> <p>&ldquo;It did quite a lot of damage to the underside of the car, one of those things unfortunately.&rdquo;</p> <p>Verstappen, who finished the session down in eighth place, expressed surprise at how much damage his RB13 sustained after he struck the debris.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was unfortunate and to be honest I&rsquo;m surprised how much damage it actually did to the floor,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;The team did a great job to change it so quickly and check the car over before I went back out on track.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14329https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14329Pascal Wehrlein feeling 'comfortable' after F1 returnFri, 14 Apr 2017 18:43:41 GMT<p>Sauber&rsquo;s Pascal Wehrlein says he feels &ldquo;comfortable&rdquo; after he returned to Formula 1 action during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.</p> <p>Wehrlein sustained a back injury in an accident at the Race of Champions and withdrew from the season-opening event in Australia after practice, citing a lack of fitness, caused by the change to his training regime.</p> <p>Wehrlein also sat out the Chinese Grand Prix as he regained his fitness levels, but returned to the cockpit of the C36-Ferrari at Sakhir on Friday.</p> <p>The Mercedes prot&eacute;g&eacute; finished the second practice session in 19<sup>th</sup> position, within two-tenths of a second of team-mate Marcus Ericsson, as he got back up to speed.</p> <p>&ldquo;First of all, I am happy to be back in the car,&rdquo; Wehrlein said after his absence.</p> <p>&ldquo;Speaking about the lap times, they are not really significant at this stage. Today&rsquo;s focus was on getting used to the car and collecting mileage in order to make up for lost time.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am feeling comfortable in the car and also the procedures with the team work well.</p> <p>&ldquo;We did make a step forward from the first to the second free practice session, so I am already looking forward to tomorrow.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14328https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14328Exhaust failure scuppers Carlos Sainz Jr’s second sessionFri, 14 Apr 2017 18:28:59 GMT<p>Toro Rosso has confirmed that an exhaust failure was the cause of Carlos Sainz Jr.&rsquo;s stoppage, truncating his second practice session at the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Sainz Jr. crawled to a halt along the back straight with smoke trailing from the rear of the STR12, while a flurry of smoke also arose from the cockpit, as the Spaniard came to a halt at Turn 11.</p> <p>Sainz Jr. was unable to take any further part in the session, meaning he amassed only five laps during the sole representative practice session, finishing down in 18<sup>th</sup> place.</p> <p>The youngster has admitted that the failure means he will head into Saturday&rsquo;s qualifying session &ldquo;blind&rdquo; due to the lack of track time.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s quite a frustrating start to the weekend here in Bahrain for me,&rdquo; he commented.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s FP2 was very important and to only be able to do a couple of laps is quite unfortunate.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is a bit of a setback for the weekend, but we will try and analyse and pick-up as much information as possible from the others, cover this lack of data that we have right now, and try to recover it tomorrow.</p> <p>&ldquo;Unfortunately FP3 isn&rsquo;t a very representative session either, which means we will go blind into qualifying and the race, but this is the situation right now.&quot;</p> <p>Team-mate Daniil Kvyat had a more productive session and rounded out the top 10 in the sister STR12.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14327https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14327Charles Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco lock out F2 front row in BahrainFri, 14 Apr 2017 17:55:39 GMT<p>Ferrari-backed Prema drivers Charles Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco locked out the front row of the grid for the Formula 2 Feature Race in Bahrain.</p> <p>Leclerc led for most of the 30-minute qualifying session, with his 1:38.907 being almost seven-tenths quicker than Fuoco&rsquo;s best effort.</p> <p>Leclerc completed his second run earlier than his rivals, which paid off after a strange incident in the final minutes of the session.</p> <p>Gustav Malja and Nabil Jeffri collided going through Turn 9, which brought out the virtual safety car and forced the bulk of the pack to abort their second runs.</p> <p>Jeffri was trying to pass when aa slowing Malja moved across the circuit, with the two clashing and stopping on the track.</p> <p>That meant Leclerc stormed to pole on his debut in the series, collecting four championship points as a result, ahead of Fuoco, McLaren junior Nyck de Vries &ndash; who suffered a disrupted practice session &ndash; and Arden&#39;s Norman Nato.</p> <p>Luca Ghiotto and Artem Markelov took fifth and seventh for Russian Time, split by ART&#39;s Nobhuaru Matsushita, while Renault development driver Oliver Rowland was unable to convert his practice pace amid a flurry of lock-ups and took eighth.</p> <p>Alexander Albon and&nbsp;S&eacute;rgio Sette C&acirc;mara rounded out the top 10 in their first F2 qualifying sessions.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14326https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14326Lewis Hamilton: Ferrari quicker in race trim in BahrainFri, 14 Apr 2017 17:52:55 GMT<p>Mercedes&rsquo; Lewis Hamilton believes that rivals Ferrari has the quickest car in race specification, following Friday&rsquo;s pair of practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Mercedes and Ferrari have been closely matched across the opening two rounds of the season, with Sebastian Vettel triumphing in Australia before Hamilton hit back in China.</p> <p>Hamilton finished only fifth during the low-fuel runs in second practice at Sakhir, after a couple of compromised runs, as <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14322">Vettel led the way</a> during both the first session, held in hot temperatures, and Friday evening&#39;s twilight running.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was incredibly hot early on, with some of the very toughest conditions &ndash; both physically and in terms of working with the tyres,&rdquo; said Hamilton.</p> <p>&ldquo;We got through that and then it was much cooler in the afternoon, giving us a much better representation of what qualifying and the race will be like.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was able to get a much better understanding of where the car is in FP2. It was very close, with Ferrari fastest.</p> <p>&ldquo;In race trim they seem a couple of tenths quicker, so I&#39;m expecting a great battle tomorrow and then again on Sunday. We&#39;ll work as hard as we can to try to close that gap.&rdquo;</p> <p>Team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished just 0.041s behind Vettel to wind up second quickest overall.</p> <p>&ldquo;It seems like the same trend continues here with it being so close with Ferrari,&rdquo; said the Finn.</p> <p>&ldquo;But Red Bull are looking good too and the whole pack is pretty close, if you look at the top six particularly.</p> <p>&ldquo;It looks like every little thing that we are going to be fine tuning today with the setup and anything extra we can find is going to be crucial for qualifying and the race.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14325https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14325Toyota gains two seconds on Porsche in Silverstone FP2Fri, 14 Apr 2017 17:32:17 GMT<p><strong>Toyota swpet the LMP1&nbsp;timesheet&nbsp;during the second free practice session of the FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>The Japanese marque out-paced Porsche comprehensively, with the two TS050 Hybrids finishing at least two seconds clear of the nearest Porsche 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>Kazuki Nakajima turned in a time of 1:38.210s to lead the 90-minute Friday afternoon session, which put the #8 Toyota 1.4 seconds quicker than the fastest time from last year&#39;s 6 Hours of&nbsp;Silverstone weekend.</p> <p>Backing up Nakajima&#39;s time in the sister TS050 was Kamui Kobayashi, who posted a 1:38.444s marker.</p> <p>Having matched Toyota during the opening practice run on Friday morning, Porsche&#39;s cornering speed deficit - based on a decision to run its Le Mans-spec downforce kit at Silverstone - made the 919s markedly slower over the course of a lap during the afternoon run.</p> <p>Earl Bamber set the quickest time for the German marque, but the New Zealander was still 2.290 seconds off the overall pace.</p> <p>Completing the LMP1 hybrid order was the second Porsche, driven by Andre Lotterer.</p> <p><a href="http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com/Results/07_2017/01_SILVERSTONE/154_FIA%20WEC/201704141645_Free%20Practice%202/03_Classification_Free%20Practice%202.PDF"><strong>WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone FP2 Result</strong></a></p> <p>Alex Lynn recorded the best LMP2 figure of the day behind the wheel of the G-Drive Racing ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>In the car run by French squad TDS Racing, Lynn shot to a time of 1:44.874s to head the competitive class order.</p> <p>Two tenths down on Lynn was&nbsp;the blue Signatech Alpine A470-Gibson, which recovered from an early trip into the gravel for Nicolas Lapierre that brought out the yellow flags.</p> <p>The team recovered to eclipse initial fastest lap-setter Mathias Beche in the #13 Rebellion Racing ORECA.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Porsche beat Aston Martin to the top spot with Kevin Estre hurdling over the two AMR Vantages midway through the session.</p> <p>Estre&#39;s 1:57.765s lap put a distance of 0.191 seconds between his 911 RSR and the Aston&nbsp;of Jonny Adam.</p> <p>Marco S&oslash;rensen rounded out the class top three in the other Aston Martin.</p> <p>GTE-Am practice was led by the Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14324https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14324Why F1’s current driver line-up could be the best everFri, 14 Apr 2017 17:20:13 GMT<p><strong>Just as Harold Wilson said supposedly that a week is a long time in politics, an hour and a half on a Sunday it appears is a long time in F1.</strong></p> <p>For however long &ndash; almost to the point of not being able to remember anything else &ndash; the sport has been characterised by self-loathing and had proceeded through seemingly impenetrable murk. A sport rather writhing foetal in a therapist&rsquo;s chair; not sure what it wanted to be beyond being certain that it wanted to be something other than it currently is.</p> <p>Reflecting this state in some part, for this 2017 campaign we had a new formula introduced. And based on the opening round in Melbourne some things about it were an improvement too. The cars looked meaner, were quicker (albeit a few wondered the extent that this should have been a priority), and coincidentally we appeared for the first time since 2012 to have a genuine multi-car fight for the drivers&rsquo; title. We know that, compared with an intra-team fight, such scraps have additional edge.</p> <p>Yet as if pressing a bubble under your wallpaper to find it pop up somewhere else, the new formula also contained new problems. Mainly that on Australia&rsquo;s basis it seemed that the new racing cars couldn&rsquo;t actually race each other. Nico Hulkenberg called it &ldquo;almost impossible&rdquo; to pass; Sergio Perez thought an advantage of two seconds a lap was required to make a place.</p> <p>But round two in China gave us tentative hope that this will not in fact be so, thanks to a scintillating Sunday&rsquo;s action there. Indeed in the space of the single hour and a half mentioned, we, if anything leapt straight to the other extreme, to feeling that for the first time in however long we were content with the racing balance struck.</p> <p>Unlike the same race 12 months previously we didn&rsquo;t get a succession of cars sailing past each other in the DRS zone, but that was a lot of the point, as instead while the total number of passes was far fewer than then many of those we got this time were thrilling &ndash; slow crescendos to desperate, brave moves in contested braking zones, featuring the possibility of attack <em>and</em> defence. It was a stark reminder of how important that is. And that quality trumps quantity.</p> <blockquote> <p>Whatever else might have been wrong with F1 in recent times driver quality has emphatically not been one of them. On the contrary, you could make the case that in terms of driving talent and the depth of it the current sport is the best F1 has ever had.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yet there was something else going on too. Not merely that F1&rsquo;s racing was, perhaps, at last getting it right. Also that vital in it all was something that existed in F1 already; China&rsquo;s race provided merely circumstances in which it could be demonstrated.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yes &ndash; whatever else might have been wrong with F1 in recent times driver quality has emphatically not been one of them (ironic given one of the audible complaints in that period has been that the modern F1 pilot has it easy). Again on the contrary, you could make the case that in terms of driving talent and the depth of it the current sport is the best F1 has ever had.</p> <p>A bold claim of course, as this current era isn&rsquo;t short of competition from history. I was one fortunate enough to get their F1 initiation in the Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell era, and era which rightfully has gone into folklore and not least due to the sheer fortune of having three such high quality drivers around at the same time. Perhaps the broad driving talent of that era peaked in 1985 when to the above you could add Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg among many others.</p> <p>The sixties and seventies meanwhile are with good reason considered treasure troves of F1 driving talent. Take the 1967 season line-up and it reads a little like a who&rsquo;s-who: Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodr&iacute;guez, Dan Gurney&hellip;</p> <blockquote> <p>The 1967 season line-up reads a little like a who&rsquo;s-who: Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodr&iacute;guez, Dan Gurney&hellip;</p> </blockquote> <p>Similar goes for 1973: Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson, Fran&ccedil;ois Cevert, Peter Revson, Hulme, Carlos Reutemann, Jacky Ickx, Carlos Pace, Clay Regazzoni, Jody Scheckter as well as a young pairing going by the names of Niki Lauda and James Hunt.</p> <p>The 1982 season started with quite the star cast too: Gilles Villeneuve, Didier Pironi, Prost, Piquet, Reutemann, Rosberg, Lauda, Jacques Laffite, Rene Arnoux, John Watson&hellip; &nbsp;It might have been even better as the great Alan Jones to most people&rsquo;s surprise had retired late the previous year. Sadly also, fate &ndash; some of it tragic &ndash; took some of those stars away before very long in that season.</p> <p>And harking back to these does not merely reflect nostalgia either (though I grant you there&rsquo;s some of it in there), as history tells us too that there is no guarantee of getting an all-star cast in an F1 era. The most top of mind evidence is the time of Michael Schumacher&rsquo;s pomp. Without taking anything away from the great man, loosely between Imola 1994 and Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso emerging in the early 2000s there simply were very few other drivers around close to Schumi&rsquo;s standards. He had one worthy adversary in Mika Hakkinen, but the rest &ndash; Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rubens Barrichello&hellip; &ndash; each for their own reasons were from a distinct step below.</p> <blockquote> <p>What is <em>especially</em> impressive about now is the strength, and strength in depth, of the cast around the &#39;big three&#39; of Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso.</p> </blockquote> <p>But it&rsquo;s not the case now. We can start with modern F1&rsquo;s own long-established &lsquo;big three&rsquo; drivers &ndash; Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. All are multiple world champions, and while we can (and do) bicker about their respective merits their status as greats that would be considered as such in any era, as well as their place in the sport&rsquo;s historical pantheon, surely are beyond contention. They all did themselves full justice in Shanghai.</p> <p>Yes, you may be pointing out at this point, many F1 generations have had a &lsquo;big three&rsquo;. Senna-Prost-Mansell we&rsquo;ve mentioned. But what is <em>especially</em> impressive about now is the strength, and strength in depth, of the cast around them.</p> <p>We can start with Max Verstappen of course, who even at his tender age has long confirmed his status as a phenomenon. Just as in his <em>tour de force</em> Brazil&rsquo;s rain last year, we started the recent China race with towering expectations of Max which he then exceeded. We knew after his difficult Shanghai qualifying and his lowly P16 starting slot that he was likely to provide fireworks come Sunday. What we did not anticipate was that come the end of lap one he&rsquo;d be in <em>P7</em>&hellip; Then it seemed after another blink he was running second, and although later he had to cede to Vettel&rsquo;s recovering Ferrari Max still completed the podium.</p> <p>Then we have his team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished on Max&rsquo;s tail in China and &ndash; lest we forget &ndash; finished 2016 in first place of many people&rsquo;s top 10 drivers&rsquo; ratings (including that of your dear author). He is a driver with everything &ndash; speed, consistency, intelligence, charisma, a fine racer&rsquo;s instinct &ndash; and one who with this hardly has an off-day or error. When he binned it in Melbourne&rsquo;s qualifying you had to rub your eyes to make sure you weren&rsquo;t imaging things. No one doubts that with tools even nearly good enough he&rsquo;d win titles.</p> <blockquote> <p>Carlos Sainz over roughly the last 12 months has been demonstrating that he is a driver of the highest order;&nbsp;Romain Grosjean in late 2013&nbsp;almost alone took the fight to the then-imperious Red Bulls and fought at the front as if born to do it;&nbsp;Hulkenberg&rsquo;s talents also have been long-known.</p> </blockquote> <p>We can stay in the rather plentiful Red Bull camp for our next mention. Carlos Sainz, who over roughly the last 12 months has been stepping out of Verstappen&rsquo;s shadow to demonstrate that he is a driver of the highest order in his own right. Fast, consistent, intelligent and error-free &ndash; he put all that and more to fine use in China, all alone starting on slick tyres on a damp track then putting in a consistent and swift drive. He finished as best of the rest behind the top three teams, well clear of all others, and even clung onto those haughty cars ahead for longer than should have been possible.</p> <p>When can scan even further down the grid too. It&rsquo;s easily forgotten but think back to the late months of 2013, when Romain Grosjean almost alone took the fight to the then-imperious Red Bulls and fought at the front as if born to do it, time after time it seemed. Given the opportunity he&rsquo;d do the same again. Pirelli has data that indicates indeed that the Franco-Swiss is the fastest through corners of everyone.</p> <p>Hulkenberg&rsquo;s talents also have been long-known, and like Grosjean his shunning by the big teams has been long-lamented. Perez too has many advocates, certainly has improved vastly over time and is capable of fine results and, with increasing regularity, fine performances. His first two rounds&rsquo; efforts this year have been excellent.</p> <p>We also should mention the Finnish pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas. Now you may be guffawing given both have had iffy starts to the 2017 campaign, but stay with me. If nothing else they must have been doing something right to get their sought-after race seats in the first place. We know that Kimi has been, and still can be, devastating when all is right.</p> <p>While Bottas remains one who is fast &ndash; especially on a qualifying lap &ndash; consistent, imperturbable and possessed of a fantastic touch on the tyres. We can recall how much we rated him in his 2014 breakthrough and it&rsquo;s hard to believe he&rsquo;s lost all of his talents in the meantime. While without what he called his &ldquo;amateur&rdquo; mistake of spinning under the safety car in China his opening two rounds could have been filed firmly under &lsquo;absolutely fine&rsquo; at the very least.</p> <blockquote> <p>As an aside we can reflect that without his 2011 rally injury we likely would have had the excellent Robert Kubica in the thick of this as well. Many, soberly, rated Kubica the very best of the very best.</p> </blockquote> <p>And while with Max around it&rsquo;s easy to lose sight of this, in addition to him and Sainz we have a wider crop of young drivers with plenty of talent and potential &ndash; Esteban Ocon, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pascal Wehrlein (remember him?). Some still put Kevin Magnussen in this category too.</p> <p>As an aside we can reflect that without his 2011 rally injury we likely would have had the excellent Robert Kubica in the thick of this as well. Many, soberly, rated Kubica the very best of the very best. Even against some of the names mentioned.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s perhaps an even bigger pity that all of this coincides with an age that, conversely, has an extreme paucity of plumb drives in which these guys can do themselves justice. Perhaps that&rsquo;s the next one of F1&rsquo;s many problems to fix&hellip;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14323https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14323Strong 53-car entry for Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup openerFri, 14 Apr 2017 16:34:56 GMT<p><strong>The upcoming Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season will commence with an impressive 53-car entry at next weekend&#39;s Monza 3 Hours.</strong></p> <p>Over half the grid - 30 cars - will be in contention for overall race honours with all-professional driver lineups.</p> <p>A group of 17 Pro/Am cars and five all-amateur entries complete the impressive list.</p> <p><a href="http://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/images/results/77/2017%20BPGT%20Endurance%20Monza%20Provisional%20Entry%20List.pdf"><strong>Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Entry List: Monza</strong></a></p> <p>McLaren factory GT drivers&nbsp;Rob Bell and C&ocirc;me Ledogar begin their&nbsp;Endurance Cup title defence at Monza with Strakka Racing, and are joined by factory academy hopeful&nbsp;Ben Barnicoat, who claimed fastest lap honours on his sprint debut at Misano.</p> <p>Mercedes is the best-represented marque at the Monza 3 Hours, with 13 examples of the AMG-GT3 model set to take part across all three categories.</p> <p>Fresh from their dominant victory in the opening round of the Sprint Cup two weeks ago, Maximilian Buhk and Franck Perera lead the German manufacturer&#39;s contingent with their HTP Motorsport car.</p> <p>At Monza, the pair will be joined by Jimmy Eriksson, who himself finished on the podium at&nbsp;the Misano sprint.</p> <p>Eriksson&#39;s sprint team-mate Dominik Baumann is slated to drive the sister HTP Motorsport pro car, sharing the seat with Edward Sandstr&ouml;m and Fabian Schiller.</p> <p>French squad AKKA-ASP is the other notable Mercedes flag-bearer, having placed one of its cars in the top five at Misano.</p> <p>Felix Serralles and Daniel Juncadella - the two drivers who contributed to that effort - are joined by former IndyCar competitor Tristan Vautier in the #88 car.</p> <p>Michael Meadows, Raffaele Marciello and DTM star Eduardo Mortara complete the team&#39;s pro entry.</p> <p>Audi brings a total of seven cars to the royal parklands just north of Milan, with WRT, Sainteloc Racing and ISR aiming to turn around a disappointing showing at the sprint.</p> <p>The factory-backed WRT squad features no surprises as Marcel F&auml;ssler/Dries Vanthoor/Will Stevens team for their first race as a trio, and Stuart Leonard/Robin Frijns/Jake Dennis partner up in a bid to claim the team&#39;s first win of the season.</p> <p>A notable omission from the entry list are the two ROWE Racing BMW M6s belonging to the team that finished fourth in the Endurance Cup last year.</p> <p>A clash with the N&uuml;rburgring 24 Hours qualifying race on the same weekend means ROWE&nbsp;decided to focus its efforts on that rather than the Blancpain opener.</p> <p>That means there will be only one BMW in action at Monza, entered by series debutant Walkenhorst Motorsport.</p> <p>Home interest is spurred by the&nbsp;mass of Ferrari and Lamborghini entries totalling almost half the field.</p> <p>Each manufacturer has ten cars on the entry list, with the works-backed Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado and Marco Cioci and the Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Christian Engelhart, Mirko Bortolotti and Super GT runner up Andrea Caldarelli.</p> <p>Completing the entry are two-car efforts from Bentley, Jaguar and Nissan, with Aston Martin and Porsche confirming one car&nbsp;each.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14322https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14322Sebastian Vettel edges rivals in closely-contested Bahrain FP2 sessionFri, 14 Apr 2017 16:32:19 GMT<p>Ferrari&rsquo;s Sebastian Vettel maintained a slender advantage during a tightly-contested second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> <p>Vettel posted a time of 1:31.310 on Super Soft tyres in representative twilight conditions at Sakhir to finish just 0.041s faster than Mercedes rival Valtteri Bottas, with Red Bull&#39;s Daniel Ricciardo only 0.025s further back in third place.</p> <p>Despite winding up quickest, it wasn&rsquo;t the smoothest session for Vettel, as his SF70-H slowed in the final sector at the mid-point of running, and he had to coast back towards the pit lane.</p> <p>Vettel was pushed by marshals in order to make it back to the pit lane, where Ferrari addressed the suspected mechanical issue and soon returned him to the track.</p> <p>The joint-championship leader clocked the quickest overall lap despite failing to set the ultimate pace in any of the three sectors, with Lewis Hamilton, Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen and Bottas, whose T-wing detached from his W08, sharing quickest sector times.</p> <p>R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen took fourth with Hamilton fifth, the Briton botching his first two laps on Super Soft tyres, before setting his personal best time.</p> <p>Hamilton&rsquo;s second attempt on Super Softs had to be aborted when he encountered Renault&rsquo;s Nico H&uuml;lkenberg at Turn 10, with the Mercedes driver complaining about his rival&rsquo;s actions, as he took to the run-off.</p> <p>Stewards are to investigate the incident between Hamilton and H&uuml;lkenberg, who finished one place behind his rival in sixth spot.</p> <p>Felipe Massa was seventh for Williams, having recovered from the brake problem which ended his first session, as Red Bull&rsquo;s Max Verstappen collected eighth, spending a chunk of the session in the garage.</p> <p>Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished firmly in the midfield for Haas, split by Toro Rosso&rsquo;s Daniil Kvyat, while Esteban Ocon took 12th, ahead of Jolyon Palmer, Fernando Alonso and Sergio P&eacute;rez.</p> <p>Lance Stroll was a low-key 16th, ahead of Marcus Ericsson and Carlos Sainz Jr., who endured a truncated session after stopping at Turn 11 with smoke trailing from the STR12, his stricken machine briefly necessitating the use of the Virtual Safety Car.</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne completed the order, with the Belgian only joining the action mid-session after McLaren was forced to change the power unit in his MCL32 following an MGU-H problem during the first session.</p> <p>Vandoorne appeared for only a handful of laps before returning to the pit lane with his best effort, on Soft tyres, 2.920s down on Vettel.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14321https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14321McLaren-backed youngster Lando Norris wins F3 opener at SilverstoneFri, 14 Apr 2017 15:51:36 GMT<p>McLaren prot&eacute;g&eacute; Lando Norris opened the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 season with a dominant victory, his first in the category, at a cool and cloudy Silverstone on Friday evening.</p> <p>A pre-race shower led to a Safety Car start but the pack elected to start on slick tyres and the rain quickly subsided, leading to dry conditions throughout the remainder of the race.</p> <p>Carlin driver Norris stormed away at the front, pursued by Prema&#39;s Callum Ilott, as F3 returnee Jake Dennis worked his way up to third, via a ballsy move on Joel Eriksson around the outside of Copse, having started from eighth.</p> <p>Ilott chased Norris but erred at Abbey and spun into the gravel, triggering the deployment of the Safety Car, while Nikita Mazepin&rsquo;s stricken Hitech at Luffield was also cleared during the neutralisation period.</p> <p>A third Safety Car phase, caused by Ralf Aron crashing at the exit of Luffield, interrupted proceedings further, but the final 10 minutes was caution-free, as Norris streaked to victory, in only his second event in the championship.</p> <p>Norris was backed up by Carlin team-mate Dennis to take a 1-2 for the squad, while Prema&rsquo;s Maximilian Gunther bagged the final podium spot, ahead of Eriksson.</p> <p>Rookie Joey Mawson finished fifth, while Harrison Newey scythed through the pack to take sixth, ahead of battling Prema pair Guan Yu Zhou and Mick Schumacher.</p> <p>Pedro Piquet and Jehan Daruvala completed the top 10.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14320https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14320Sébastien Buemi leads for Toyota in Silverstone opening practiceFri, 14 Apr 2017 13:13:35 GMT<p><strong>Toyota opened the&nbsp;World Endurance Championship season by setting the quickest time during the first practice session at an overcast Silverstone circuit.</strong></p> <p>S&eacute;bastien Buemi led the way&nbsp;with a&nbsp;time of 1:40.104s behind the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, shared with Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima.</p> <p>Buemi&#39;s effort was 0.781 seconds quicker than the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, which finished second in the LMP1 order.</p> <p>Despite running with a compromised low-downforce setup against the conventional high-downforce aero package of Toyota, the #1 Porsche of Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard managed to split the Japanese manufacturer&#39;s two cars. Mike Conway brought the second Toyota through on a 1:40.960, with Nick Tandy rounding out the quartet of hybrid LMP1 runners.</p> <p><a href="http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com/Results/07_2017/01_SILVERSTONE/154_FIA%20WEC/201704141145_Free%20Practice%201/03_Classification_Free%20Practice%201.PDF"><strong>WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone FP1 result</strong></a></p> <p>In the all-ORECA LMP2 category, Rebellion Racing pipped TDS Racing to the fastest time courtesy of a 1:45.913s&nbsp;effort by Mathias Beche.</p> <p>The Swiss driver edged out Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #28 TDS ORECA by 0.225 seconds, with Alex Brundle slotting slotting the best of the two Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs into third.</p> <p>Completing the top five in class were Roman Rusinov (G-Drive Racing) and Gustavo Menezes (Signatech Alpine).</p> <p>Aston Martin Racing led Ford and Porsche in the GTE-Pro manufacturer battle as Ferrari struggled to match the pace of its counterparts.</p> <p>Richie Stanaway set the quickest time of the opening session - a 1:59.110 - in the championship-defending AMR Vantage shared with Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen.</p> <p>The two Ford GTs followed up the New Zealander&#39;s benchmark with similar times: Billy Johnson rested 0.382 seconds off the pace with Andy Priaulx a further 0.008 seconds shy, with Frederic Makowiecki lapping fourth for Porsche.</p> <p>Ferrari, by contrast, ended up rock bottom in the category with its quickest car - the #51 488 GTE driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi - only managing a time of 2:00.081s.</p> <p>The prancing horse also propped up the order in GTE-Am as Pedro Lamy&#39;s Aston Martin Vantage led the category and infiltrated the Pro-class standings.</p> <p>A second 90-minute free practice session is bookmarked for 16:45 later today (UK time).</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14319https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14319Sebastian Vettel fastest during opening Bahrain F1 sessionFri, 14 Apr 2017 12:32:05 GMT<p>Sebastian Vettel put Ferrari on top during the first practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix as team-mate Kimi R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen was stranded by an engine issue.</p> <p>In exceptionally hot weather at Sakhir, with air temperatures approaching 40&deg;c, Vettel clocked a 1:32.697 on Soft tyres, to finish four-tenths clear of Red Bull&rsquo;s Daniel Ricciardo.</p> <p>However, while Vettel finished quickest, R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen had to sit out the final 50 minutes of the session, losing substantial track time, after he slowed with smoke trailing from the rear of his SF70-H.</p> <p>R&auml;ikk&ouml;nen parked along the straight between Turns 13 and 14 and walked back to the paddock, with Ferrari later confirming that an overheating turbo was the reason for his stoppage.</p> <p>Max Verstappen finished third for Red Bull, 0.869s behind Vettel, as Mercedes opted not to set rapid times in the unrepresentative conditions.</p> <p>Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top 10, 1.939s off the pace, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas placed 14<sup>th</sup>, a few tenths further back.</p> <p>Sergio P&eacute;rez claimed fourth for Force India, in front of Williams pair Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, the Brazilian&rsquo;s session coming to a dramatic end when he suffered a brake failure at Turn 13.</p> <p>Massa was pitched into a spin but came to a safe halt in the run-off and was able to slowly recover to the pit lane.</p> <p>Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean and the aforementioned Hamilton completed the top 10.</p> <p>McLaren&#39;s Stoffel Vandoorne stopped on track exiting Turn 10 with 20 minutes remaining, amid a suspected loss of power, leaving him unable to complete the entire session.</p> <p>Pascal Wehrlein returned to Formula 1 action with Sauber and finished 18<sup>th</sup>, within a tenth of a second of team-mate Marcus Ericsson.</p> <!--?=practiceDriversTable(2,1,24)?-->https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14318https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14318Eric Boullier hails Jenson Button’s Monaco F1 returnFri, 14 Apr 2017 10:14:31 GMT<p>McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has hailed Jenson Button as a &ldquo;class act&rdquo; and believes the Briton will not have lost any of his form when he returns to Formula 1 in Monaco next month.</p> <p>McLaren confirmed on Friday that <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14317">Button will make a one-off comeback to participate in the Monaco Grand Prix</a>, due to Fernando Alonso&rsquo;s clashing Indianapolis 500 commitments.</p> <p>Button retired from Formula 1 at the end of 2016 but remained under contract at McLaren as an ambassador, and Boullier reckons his return is positive for all involved.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was truly delighted when Jenson accepted our suggestion that he race at Monaco instead of Fernando,&rdquo; said Boullier.</p> <p>&ldquo;I know I speak on behalf of everyone at McLaren-Honda, and all our sponsor-partners and fans too, when I say that it&rsquo;s great news for Jenson, for McLaren, for Honda, for our sponsor-partners, for Monaco, and for the sport of Formula 1.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Jenson is a class act. He&rsquo;s a superb driver &ndash; fast, smooth and precise &ndash; and he won&rsquo;t have lost any of his competitive edge over the past few months.</p> <p>&ldquo;After all, he&rsquo;s missed only a handful of Grands Prix since his last outing in Abu Dhabi in late November last year, and he&rsquo;s as fit as a fiddle.</p> <p>&ldquo;Also, he&rsquo;s always been good at Monaco. He&rsquo;ll do a great job for us, I&rsquo;m sure of that.&rdquo;</p> <p>Alonso will return to Formula 1 for the Canadian Grand Prix in June.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14317https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14317Jenson Button to replace Fernando Alonso for Monaco GPFri, 14 Apr 2017 09:01:32 GMT<p>Jenson Button will return to Formula 1 for next month&rsquo;s Monaco Grand Prix, as Fernando Alonso&rsquo;s one-off replacement, McLaren has confirmed.</p> <p>Alonso will compete at the Indianapolis 500 this year, with a one-car McLaren team, run by Andretti, and powered by Honda, meaning he has to skip the Monaco Grand Prix.</p> <p>McLaren confirmed on Friday that Button, who remains under contract as an ambassador, will come out of retirement to pilot the MCL32, alongside Stoffel Vandoorne, around the streets of the Principality. &nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m thrilled to be making a one-off return to Formula 1 racing, and I couldn&rsquo;t think of a better place to make that return than my adopted home Grand Prix: Monaco,&quot; said Button</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve won the race before, in 2009, and it&rsquo;s one of my all-time favourite racetracks. It&rsquo;s a tricky street circuit on which a good driver can really make a difference &ndash; and, although the McLaren-Honda MCL32 hasn&rsquo;t begun the season well, I think it may be more suited to Monaco than to the faster circuits that Fernando and Stoffel have raced it on so far this season.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;OK, I realise we won&rsquo;t have a realistic chance of repeating my 2009 victory, but I think we&rsquo;ll have an opportunity to score world championship points, which will be very valuable to the team in terms of constructors&rsquo; rankings.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;As for Fernando, I hope he not only fares well at Indy but enjoys it too. It&rsquo;ll be a great experience for him. He&rsquo;s an excellent driver, as we all know, and he&rsquo;s very experienced, so, although super-speedway driving techniques will be all-new to him, I expect him to get to grips with it all pretty quickly.</p> <p>&quot;And on Sunday evening, after the Monaco Grand Prix, I&rsquo;ll sit down and watch [Fernando] do his stuff on TV. I&rsquo;m looking forward to that too.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;But most of all I&rsquo;m looking forward to pitting myself against the unique racing challenge that is the Monaco Grand Prix. I&rsquo;ll drive the MCL32 around Monaco in the McLaren sim beforehand, and I reckon I&rsquo;ll be ready for the race after doing that.&quot;</p> <p>Alonso will return to Formula 1 for the Canadian Grand Prix to complete the remainder of the season.</p> <p>McLaren also confirmed that Vandoorne and Oliver Turvey will share duties during next week&#39;s in-season test in Bahrain.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14316https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14316Scott Dixon tops open test at newly configured Texas Motor SpeedwayThu, 13 Apr 2017 18:26:12 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon has ended the open test at the newly configured Texas Motor Speedway fastest, amid preparations for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 race in June.</strong></p> <p>During the off-season the 1.5-mile oval underwent an extensive multi-million dollar refit, with the entire track surface repaved and Turns 1 and 2 both widened and re-profiled down to 20 degrees from 24 degrees.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the banking at Turns 3 and 4 remains at 24 degrees.</p> <p>The main aim of the open test was to allow teams to acquire a perfect aero configuration for the race in June, with drivers purposefully running side-by-side and on high fuel levels to simulate race conditions.</p> <p>Four-time champion Dixon ended both sessions fastest throughout the day, ending the combined classification ahead of 2016 race winner Graham Rahal with a speed of 221.974mph.</p> <p>Dixon completed the test in Charlie Kimball&rsquo;s No. 83 Chip Ganassi car after seven Honda-powered cars, including Dixon&rsquo;s No. 9 car, were withdrawn from the event as a precaution after arriving at the track with a higher mileage to their engines.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is hard coming to a place for the first time,&rdquo; explained Dixon, who won at Texas in 2008 and 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It is probably 20 degrees cooler than when we come back down the road, so you try to take in a lot of information and make the best decisions for something that will work for everyone.&rdquo;</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was impressed with the changes to the track, ending the day third overall in the combined classification.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a different layout, for sure,&rdquo; said Pagenaud.&quot;The radius of Turn 1 is different, the exit of Turn 2 is as well. It definitely helps promote the side-by-side racing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The tarmac is really smooth. The bumps are all gone. It&rsquo;s just about us learning how to make the tyres work best with the race track.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="http://www.imscdn.com/indycar_media/documents/2017-04-12/indycar-results-pcomb.pdf"><strong>Texas Open Test Combined Classification</strong></a></p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14315https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14315Kevin Magnussen sure Haas F1 can maintain formThu, 13 Apr 2017 16:21:36 GMT<p>Kevin Magnussen is confident that Haas can maintain its current form, following an encouraging start to the 2017 Formula 1 campaign.</p> <p>Magnussen&rsquo;s team-mate, Romain Grosjean, qualified sixth in Australia and raced in seventh place before retiring, while Magnussen surged to eighth, scoring his first points for Haas, in China last weekend.</p> <p>Magnussen&rsquo;s result lifted Haas to seventh in the Constructors&rsquo; Championship and he is optimistic that the team can compete for points once more this weekend in Bahrain.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see any reason why it wouldn&rsquo;t be as good as China, or even Melbourne,&rdquo; he said of the upcoming event at Sakhir.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we have a good car that works well in most conditions and I think, as I said, there&rsquo;s no reason why we shouldn&rsquo;t be able to perform here.</p> <p>&ldquo;The midfield is very close and competitive, so getting points, you really need to be on top of everything.</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s our target: to be on top of everything and to try and score points again &ndash; but it&rsquo;s not easy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Magnussen also reckons Haas can perform strongly despite the small size of its team, compared to more esteemed rivals.</p> <p>&ldquo;In some situations, it&rsquo;s difficult when you&rsquo;re small,&rdquo; Magnussen said of Haas.</p> <p>&ldquo;For example, when we need to go into FP3 with no practice; when we miss Friday like we did in China, it&rsquo;s not easy because our preparation before the race weekend is not as strong as the big teams, of course.</p> <p>&ldquo;But, we react quickly and we take decisions well and, as I said, if everything goes well, I think we should be strong.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14314https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14314Video: Esteban Ocon's guide to the Bahrain GP circuitThu, 13 Apr 2017 14:13:48 GMT<p>Force India driver Esteban Ocon gives us his guide to the Sakhir International Circuit, the home of this weekend&#39;s Bahrain Grand Prix.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14313https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14313Alonso plays down prospect of additional IndyCar appearancesThu, 13 Apr 2017 13:44:39 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso has insisted that his participation in the Indianapolis 500 will be a &ldquo;one-off&rdquo; and will not be enticed to compete in further events in the championship this year.</p> <p>Alonso will enter the prestigious race in a one-car McLaren team, run by Andretti Autosports and powered by Honda engines, meaning he will skip the clashing Monaco Grand Prix.</p> <p>Alonso will return to Formula 1 for the Canadian Grand Prix, but has dismissed the prospect of additional IndyCar races.</p> <p>&ldquo;No, I don&rsquo;t think so, I think it&rsquo;s one off,&rdquo; he told Motorsport Week when the prospect of additional IndyCar events was mooted.</p> <p>&ldquo;I will do the Indy 500, it&rsquo;s the race, the biggest race in the world, the fastest in the world, after that, especially after Indy and Canada, I will be two weeks in the living room watching TV and relaxing!&rdquo;</p> <p>Alonso also insisted that his participation in this year&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500 is not as a consequence of McLaren&rsquo;s lack of competitiveness in Formula 1.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s true that it&rsquo;s a good motivation, the possibility to win a big race, a big trophy like Indy 500 in the middle of the year,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is like winning a world championship in one weekend, so you have two possibilities in one year, so it is very attractive.</p> <p>&ldquo;But it&rsquo;s not that it came to our minds this year [because] we are struggling or [because] last year, the last two years we [have been] uncompetitive.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s something I keep repeating since 2014, when I was at Ferrari, I was talking about this possibility to [Marco] Mattiacci and people in Ferrari, even [suggesting] racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 458.</p> <p>&ldquo;So you [could] compete in two different categories in the same year, it&rsquo;s nothing new because of the performance of this year.&rdquo;</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14312https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14312Lewis Hamilton wants to try MotoGP, Daytona; hopes Jenson Button returnsThu, 13 Apr 2017 13:02:32 GMT<p>Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he would like to sample a MotoGP race, or the Daytona 500, off the back of Fernando Alonso&rsquo;s planned Indianapolis 500 entry next month.</p> <p>It was announced on Wednesday that Alonso will make his debut at the Indianapolis 500 with an Andretti-run McLaren team, powered by Honda engines.</p> <p>Alonso will miss the corresponding Monaco Grand Prix as a result and triple F1 champion Hamilton says he would like to dabble in other forms of motorsport, if given the opportunity.</p> <p>&ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t miss out on any of the races in Formula 1, I&rsquo;d definitely continue to do all the races,&rdquo; Hamilton said when asked by Motorsport Week.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I&rsquo;d like to do MotoGP, I would like to ride a MotoGP bike, and probably a NASCAR race like the Daytona 500 maybe.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hamilton added that he hopes former team-mate Jenson Button will return for the Monaco Grand Prix in place of Indianapolis-bound Alonso.</p> <p>Button, who stepped back from a race seat at the end of 2016, remains under contract as part of an &lsquo;innovative three-driver strategy&rsquo; announced by McLaren last year, but a decision on Alonso&rsquo;s substitute has not yet been made.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s pretty cool he&rsquo;s [Alonso] doing it, I hope Jenson comes back, I think it&rsquo;d be great for the sport to have Jenson back in,&quot; Hamilton said of Button.</p> <p>&ldquo;I like Jenson and I think he&rsquo;s still one of the best drivers, his calibre is still higher than any other driver able to take that spot for sure.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hamilton raced alongside Button at McLaren between 2010 and 2012, prior to the younger Briton&#39;s switch to Mercedes.</p> https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14311https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14311Pascal Wehrlein hits back at critics over F1 absenceThu, 13 Apr 2017 12:28:54 GMT<p>Sauber&#39;s Pascal Wehrlein has hit back at critics who have suggested that the youngster should have attempted to race in Australia and China.</p> <p>Wehrlein sustained a back injury at the Race of Champions in January, which impacted on his training regime, and while he returned for the second pre-season test, he withdrew from the Australian Grand Prix after Friday&#39;s practice sessions, citing a lack of fitness.</p> <p>Wehrlein missed the Chinese Grand Prix but has returned for this weekend&#39;s third round of the season in Bahrain, and has responded to comments from some quarters that he should have attempted to compete.</p> <p>&quot;I don&#39;t care too much what the others said, because they didn&#39;t know my situation,&quot; Wehrlein is quoted by <em>Motorsport.com</em>.</p> <p>&quot;And they were commenting on my situation. I think for me it was the right decision, and it was felt together with Monisha [Kaltenborn] and with Toto [Wolff]. What the others drivers think, it&#39;s their opinion.</p> <p>&quot;If you don&#39;t know which injury someone had, you shouldn&#39;t criticise him. It&#39;s quite simple, you know.</p> <p>&quot;The injury wasn&#39;t something too serious, because I&#39;m fine now, but if it was just some muscle pain, or anything else, do you think that Sauber or Mercedes would accept for me to not drive? Some negative comments I heard. I don&#39;t mind too much.</p> <p>Wehrlein added that he is sure he will be able to complete the entirety of the race weekend at Sakhir.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s my first race this year, and normally the more races you do, the easier it gets,&quot; he commented.</p> <p>&quot;But otherwise I think I will be fine in the car. [I have] no pain, that&#39;s the most important thing. The track is also quite flat, not many bumps. It&#39;s just a bit hot, but otherwise it&#39;s OK.&quot;</p>