Tag Archives: WSR

INDYCAR SERIES

ALONSO VISITS BARBER AHEAD OF INDIANAPOLIS 500

A racer is a racer is a racer. If nothing more can be gleaned from Fernando Alonso’s visit today to Barber Motorsports Park – and his plan to race in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28 – it’s that racers share one goal: to be faster than the rest, no matter the car or venue.

And to do that, they occasionally need assistance from other racers.

The two-time Formula One champion explained that he’ll need help to be competitive at Indianapolis next month, so he’s relying on his five temporary teammates at Andretti Autosport – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato and Jack Harvey – to help him get up to speed.

“I need to learn all of these things,” Alonso said. “To learn them alone would take two years. To learn it with some help would take six months. But I have two weeks. I will need a lot of help.”

Alonso has 32 F1 victories and championships in 2005 and 2006 to his credit. Aside from some Indy 500 warmups on a simulator in Italy, though, he has no experience with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, oval tracks or Indy cars.

“I will need the help to be competitive,” he said. “I’m very open-minded, knowing that the series is completely different, the cars are completely different and superspeedways require a driving technique and a driving feeling that’s completely different and that I don’t have yet.”

Alonso met his teammates Saturday night after arriving at Barber to watch today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by America’s First. From there, he’ll travel to Andretti Autosport headquarters in Indianapolis on Monday for a seat fitting and more time on a simulator. He’ll then travel to Sochi, Russia, for next weekend’s Russian Grand Prix and his fulltime job with the McLaren Honda F1 team before returning to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a solo test in the McLaren-Andretti Honda on May 3.

That’s when the sorting of the details will commence.

“The setup of the car is extremely important, because the difference is in milliseconds,” Alonso said. “To set up the car for different parts of the race in different wind direction and fuel loads in the car, tire degradation – there are many things that you need to make small adjustments, apparently, that I have no idea about.”

For now, Alonso is just taking as much in as he can and relying on his fellow racers in the process.

“There are many, many things – more than people can imagine,” Alonso said. “There are little things when you’re driving at those speeds and you have all those things going on – the radio, etc. – but we are professional drivers and we should be able to deal with it.”

FORMULA 1

RED BULL ON THE BAHRAIN RESULTS

MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 6th
“I had a good start, Kimi struggled a bit off the line so I passed him straight away and then I went round the outside at turn one and overtook Daniel which put me in a good position. After that I could keep up with the leaders, the car was performing really well on the tyres and the pace was good. 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. These things are all a part of racing and there are definitely positives to take away from today. The car was working a lot better here than the previous two races so it’s just an unfortunate ending as we could have scored some really good points.”

DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 5th, Start Position: 4th
“For me it was a race of two halves really. At the beginning of the race I genuinely thought we had a chance to win. 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. 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 today, not only for a podium but for a win. The safety car worked for me in that we jumped up to third but it wasn’t so good for our tyres and that’s where we lost a lot of ground. 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 today.”

CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “After an exciting opening to the race up to the first pit stops, our cars looked in good contention with Max having made a good start. He managed to move up a couple of places and we pitted reasonably early for an undercut but unfortunately shortly after a rear brake pressure issue caused his immediate retirement which brought out the safety car. We stopped Daniel under the safety car but lost some time behind Lewis as he deliberately slowed in the pit lane for which he was later penalized. Nonetheless we were still able to get out ahead of him and at that stage for the restart we were third on the road. It became very quickly apparent that Daniel struggled to warm up the soft tyre compared to our competitors and dropped several places before recovering one against Massa. With the final stint on the supersoft tyre unfortunately fifth place was the best that we could achieve today.”

FORMULA 1

BOTTAS BEATS LCH TO POLE IN BAHRAIN

Bottas beat LCH to pole position for the first time on Saturday, going quickest in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Finn improved dramatically during the final session, while Ferrari and Red Bull failed to build on the promise shown in the practice sessions. Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo will start on the second row, with Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen finishing fifth and sixth in qualifying, respectively.

Bottas was the first of the top runners to come out, with the returning Pascal Wehrlein topping the standings at the time, well ahead of team-mate Marcus Ericsson. Once again, Hamilton had to abort his first attempt after locking up, although he did manage a solid lap on the soft compound.

McLaren made a fine impression in the first qualifying session, but some brake issues meant Stoffel Vandoorne did not advance.

Ricciardo and Raikkonen were notably slower than their team-mates, Verstappen and Vettel. The Finn even ventured out on the super softs to improve his position and still wasn’t able to beat Hamilton’s time, set on a harder compound.

Carlos Sainz didn’t survive the first qualifying session, as his Toro Rosso suffered yet another failure during his flying lap, with the Spaniard setting the fastest first sector. As shared by BBC F1, he wasn’t the only big name to miss out on Q2:

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

ERIKSSON CLAIMS VICTORY SCHUMACHER BEST ROOKIE

Event: 01 Silverstone
Session: Race 2
Track: Silverstone / GBR
Pole position: Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam)
Race winner: Joel Eriksson (Motopark)
Weather: changeable, 8.6 °C

At the 5.901 kilometres long Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, Joel Eriksson (Motopark) brought the Motopark team its first FIA Formula 3 European Championship season victory. The Swede already made the decisive overtaking move on the opening lap as he went past British driver Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) to take the lead. Behind Eriksson and Ilott, Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) finished third. Thus, the first two races of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season already saw drivers from four different teams on the podium. Mick Schumacher (Prema Powerteam) collected the trophy for the best-placed rookie driver. In the drivers’ standings, race winner Eriksson is leading from Jake Dennis (Carlin) and Lando Norris (Carlin). In the rookie standings, Schumacher and Norris are tied in the lead.

British driver Callum Ilott started the race from pole position and took the lead at the start. Alongside him, Lando Norris had a poorer getaway from the damp side of the track and lost some positions. Ilott, however, wasn’t able to hold on to the lead for long. On the opening lap already, Joel Eriksson made an attack and went past the Prema driver. The Swede, the winner of last year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship rookie title, immediately pulled clear from his rivals and went on to secure an undisputed victory.

Ilott and Hughes also safely brought home their second and third places. Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam), on the other hand, had to defend his fourth place from Jake Dennis at several stages during the race, which the runner-up from last year’s championship managed to do. Mick Schumacher took the flag in sixth place overall as the best-placed rookie driver. The son of Formula 1 record world champion Michael Schumacher came out on top in the duel with Lando Norris and, in his second FIA Formula 3 European Championship race outing, emerged as the best rookie for the first time. In the closing stages of the race, Norris also lost seventh place to Guanyu Zhou (Prema Powerteam) and then, Jehan Daruvala (Carlin) managed to overtake the race winner from the previous day as well. After 19 laps, Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) was classified tenth.

Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “My start was good, but I was also fortunate to be starting from the dry side of the track. Yesterday, I didn’t want to take too many risks and just score points. Today, however, my plan was to end up further at the front. As I was unable to overtake Callum at the start, I had to opt for a different strategy. I had a good exit of turn four and thus I was able to overtake him in turn six, even though the move was close. My car was very good; I reckon I was the fastest driver on track, especially during the opening part of the race. I used this advantage to pull a gap straight away and then hold on to it until the end. This victory is great, also as it is my goal to win the title this year. That, however, will not be easy as the field is stronger than last year.”

Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam): “Being on the podium on home soil is always nice. At the start of the race, Joel was simply faster, but I was also having trouble in getting my tyres to the right temperature. After the first two laps, things were getting better, but by that time, Joel was gone. After my retirement yesterday, these points for second place are important.”

Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix): “We are having problems this weekend, particularly in the fast sections. In the race, my left front tyre degraded badly, preventing me to keep up with Joel and Callum in front of me. On the first few laps, I also had to defend my position from Maximilian Günther, so that the gap to the front runners got bigger. Generally, a podium finish in the home race both for myself and for the team is nice, of course, we can now build on that.”

FORMULA 2

ROWLAND ON TOP IN F2 PRACTICE

Oliver Rowland has topped the timesheets in the first FIA Formula 2 Championship free practice session with a blistering lap under scorching conditions this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, leading the way for most of the session by less than a tenth from Artem Markelov and Charles Leclerc.

The Briton stopped the clocks at 1:42.221 just nine minutes into the session, which opened under a cloudless sky, with track temperatures at 45˚C as the lights went green to open the session. All of the drivers headed straight out onto the circuit to get the day started, with Johnny Cecotto setting the first competitive lap 6 minutes in, before being usurped by Nobuharu Matsushita next time round.

Rowland stole the top spot on the next lap, as Markelov (0.092s) and Antonio Fuoco (0.160s) following in his wake. With such extreme temperatures and serious tyre wear at the desert circuit there was little chance of improvement, although Leclerc had clearly saved some tyres for a quick run at the 15 minute mark to nab P3 by a hundredth from his teammate.

The second half of the session was focused on race pace, leaving little opportunity for a change on the timesheet, with the only excitement revolving around a few drivers being caught out by the heat as they stopped at the end of the pitlane for practice starts, putting the marshals to work pushing the stricken cars back across the line for their teams to restart.

Behind the top three Fuoco, Norman Nato, Luca Ghiotto, Nyck De Vries, Johnny Cecotto and Matsushita all posted times within a second of the top spot, and will be hoping to find a small margin in the cooler conditions for this evening’s qualifying session.

F1Weekly podcast # 724

CLARK AND NASIR DISCUSS THE CHINESE GRAND PRIX RESULTS AND COVER OTHER RACING EVENTS AROUND THE GLOBE IN THE MOTORSPORTS MONDIAL SEGMENT AND…WE BRING YOU ANOTHER GREAT NASIR INTERVIEW WITH INDYCAR DRIVER MIKHAIL ALESHIN!

MIKHAIL ALESHIN’S CAREER:

Aleshin competed in karting from 1996 to 2000. Since 2001 he has taken part in various international open wheel series. On 14 April 2007 he became the first Russian driver to win a major international single-seater race when he won the opening round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series season at Monza. He then deputised for the injured Michael Ammermüller in the ART Grand Prix team at the second round of the 2007 GP2 Series season, becoming the second Russian after Vitaly Petrov to race in the series. He remained in FR3.5 for 2008, taking his best finish in the championship so far despite not winning a race.

He joined the relaunched FIA Formula Two Championship for 2009, driving car number 15. He finished third in the championship, with a single win coming at Oschersleben.

Aleshin returned to Formula Renault 3.5 for the 2010 season, partnering Jake Rosenzweig at Carlin. Scoring three victories, he became the champion of the series. He tested for Renault F1 in the young drivers’ test in Abu Dhabi and stated that he was confident for a Formula One drive in 2011, but did not obtain one.

Aleshin remained with Carlin to drive in 2011 GP2 Series and 2011 GP2 Asia Series, the team’s first season in the category and Aleshin’s first attempt at the series since 2007. He was partnered by Max Chilton, another driver who had previously been employed by Carlin in lower formulae. He endured a frustrating Asia series, afflicted by technical problems which left him last in the drivers’ championship, before announcing that he did not have a budget to compete in the main series, and would henceforth be stepping back to the ATS Formel 3 Cup. He then, however, secured a last-minute temporary GP2 deal with Carlin, only to crash in qualifying for the first round of the season in Turkey, injuring metacarpals in both hands which prevented him from racing. He returned to action for the following round of the championship at Catalunya, but was then replaced by Oliver Turvey as his money ran out. After eight races on the sidelines, he returned to racing action with Carlin at the Hungaroring. He was replaced again by Parente for the season finale at Monza, and finished 32nd and last in the overall standings.

In 2014 Aleshin began racing in the IndyCar Series with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Fontana Crash

At Fontana in the final race of the 2014 IndyCar season, Aleshin was practicing his race-car before the race. The first driver from Russia to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series, was in Turn 4 of the two-mile Fontana track—a track where the cars travel at more than 200 mph—when the accident occurred.

Aleshin’s No. 7 car was driving low on the track before clipping the apron at the bottom, this unsettled the car and subsequently sent it into a spin. Charlie Kimball, who was running the high line, had no time to react to Aleshin’s car that was sliding up the track before him and he slammed into Aleshin at almost full speed. The impact sent both cars into the outside retaining wall where the upwards momentum of Aleshin’s out of control car caused it to vault up and over Kimball and the nose speared through the catch fencing, causing it to pirouette against the fence. Aleshin’s car then fell back onto the track as pieces of the car were scattered for yards and a large section of the catch fencing was ripped down. Kimball was able to get out of his car on his own, however, Aleshin was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition.

“The 7 car spun from the bottom and I really had nowhere to go,” said Kimball, who was not hurt. Aleshin, meanwhile, was diagnosed with a concussion, fractured ribs, a broken right clavicle and chest injuries.

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