Tag Archives: F1

WEC

PEUGEOT TO RETURN TO LE MANS 2022

Peugeot Sport has announced that it will join the FIA World Endurance Championship’s ‘Hypercar’ top class from 2022 onwards.  The French marque made this short announcement via social media, stating simply that it will enter with a ‘Hybrid-Powered’ Hypercar, with “More news to come at the beginning of 2020.”

This announcement marks the return to the top of endurance racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours for Peugeot, after eight years away. It was last seen back in 2011, where it competed in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (including the Le Mans 24 Hours) with diesel-powered 908 LMP1 cars.

Peugeot’s diesel prototypes ruled Le Mans in 2009. Image by Kevin Wood/LAT

“Superb news from Peugeot!” FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said in reaction to the news. “We can’t wait for you to rejoin the FIA WEC family!”

The brand was due to enter the FIA WEC in its inaugural season back in 2012 to compete against Audi and Toyota with a hybrid-powered 908 (Hybrid4), but pulled the plug on its program just weeks before the season opener at Sebring for financial reasons.

Peugeot stated that the “cost savings permitted by the WEC’s new Hypercar regulations and the confirmation that the series will feature hybrid power units led the Groupe PSA Executive Committee to approve the Peugeot brand’s proposal to participate in the world’s premier endurance racing championship from 2022.”

“I am very excited at the prospect of channeling the skills and passion of my team into this project,” said PSA Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot “It is a new challenge and I know our experts will rise to it with another demonstration of their will to win with teams financed by the Group’s brands, fueled by their long experience of top-flight FIA championships and hunger for success.”

Peugeot Brand Director Jean-Philippe Imparato added: “The changes that the FIA WEC is introducing fit now with the transition we are undergoing ourselves with the electrification of our range and the launch of high-performance products, developed in close association with PSA Motorsport and foreshadowed by the Concept 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered. These initiatives are completely in tune with Peugeot’s ‘Motion and E-motion’ brand signature.”

FORMULA 1

MAX TAKES POLE WHILST BOTTAS CRASHES

Verstappen celebrated his pole for Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix but the Dutchman is likely to face stern criticism for what many will see as the dangerous manner with which he sealed the place. His final two laps were superb but for a driver still trying to shake off a reputation for recklessness and lapses of judgment, he was surprisingly unconcerned by his decision not to slow as he rounded the final corner, where Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes lay after crashing into the barriers.

Verstappen took pole ahead of the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel in second and third, with Lewis Hamilton in fourth for Mercedes. Hamilton’s title hopes, however, may yet have taken a boost if Bottas takes grid penalties for the repairs to his car.

Valtteri Bottas emerges from the wreckage of his car. Photograph: Pixathlon/Shutterstock

Verstappen had been quick throughout but the crucial moments came in the final seconds of the final session. He held the top spot from his first run but as Bottas went though the final corner, he clipped the wall and took a major, 17G impact. The stricken car was left at the side of the track but Bottas was unharmed.

Verstappen entered the corner shortly afterwards, where stewards were waving single yellow flags, denoting that drivers should slow down. However, there appeared to be no yellow indicators on the Dutchman’s dashboard. He would have been expected to back off and in the past drivers have had times set under yellow flags deleted.

Verstappen said he had not slowed. “I was aware Valtteri crashed,” he said. When asked if he had backed off, he made no attempt at deception. “It didn’t really look like it, did it? No.”

F1Weekly podcast # 807

CLARK AND NASIR FINALLY GET TO THE CONFUSING JAPANESE GRAND PRIX AND IN THE PROCESS PRODUCE A VERY CONFUSING PODCAST! AND, LOOKING TOWARDS THE MEXICAN GP HERE ARE SOME THOUGHTS FROM SERGIO PEREZ…

Sergio: “The race in Mexico is a hugely important weekend for me. It’s my home race and I always feel very proud to see Formula 1 back in Mexico. We’ve just had the notice that the race contract has been extended for another three years, which is great news for the sport and for Mexico. Everybody tells me how much they love the race – my colleagues, the media and the fans. It’s our chance to show everybody the Mexican way of life and how much we love sports.
“The track is a pretty challenging one – especially when you consider we are driving the cars at a high altitude. It’s tough on the drivers physically and it’s hard work for the power unit as well because the air is so thin.

“I think the final sector is my favourite part of the lap – the fast and flowing section, which can be very tricky, and it’s easy to make a mistake through there. Because of the altitude, you have much less downforce on the car and the car can sometimes get quite loose through those fast corners.

“The final sector also has the stadium section and when it’s full of fans the atmosphere is like nothing else. Each time I drive through there, even during practice, I can hear the fans and feel their support.

“Overtaking is never easy, but I think the best opportunity is into Turn 1 – that’s where we’ve seen most of the moves being made.”

Play Podcast: 10-22-19f1weekly807.mp3

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:

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.

INDYCAR SERIES

TWO-TIME F1 CHAMPION ALONSO TO COMPETE IN 101ST INDIANAPOLIS 500!

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, April 12, 2017) – The Indianapolis 500 has attracted another world champion to its driver field.

McLaren announced today that Fernando Alonso El mas macho de Espana, Formula One’s two-time champion and three-time runner-up, will compete in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28.

Alonso will drive for Andretti Autosport, which has won four Indianapolis 500s, including last year’s race with Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Alexander Rossi at the wheel of the Honda-powered Dallara. Honda also powers Alonso’s car on McLaren’s grand prix team.

Alonso becomes the ninth driver to enter the 500 with a world championship on his resume. In recent years, Nigel Mansell’s participation in 1993 as the reigning F1 champion was the most celebrated, with media interest at a fevered pitch. Mansell finished third.

Alonso’s decision to join this year’s 500 field adds to the momentum of the race and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Last year’s 500 was sold out for the first time in history and broke attendance marks. The Verizon IndyCar Series has seen television ratings increases each of the past three years, a combined 55 percent, and Alonso’s participation should provide an even greater spotlight on month of May activities.

“The entire INDYCAR community – competitors, fans, media, everyone – is delighted and excited at the prospect of a driver as brilliant as Fernando making his debut in our series,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Verizon IndyCar Series. “Even better, he’ll be making that debut in the greatest race of our year, the world-famous Indy 500.”

Alonso has 32 grand prix victories and 97 podium finishes in 275 F1 starts. Competing in his 15th F1 season, Alonso became the youngest champion in series history in 2005 at age 24 and backed it up with another title the following year.

Alonso strives to win the 500 as F1 champion Graham Hill did as a rookie in 1966. Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Nelson Piquet also drove in the 500 as one-time world champions, while Alberto Ascari, Jackie Stewart, Jochen Rindt and Jacques Villeneuve won F1 titles after competing in the 500.

“I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500 with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport,” Alonso said. “The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivaled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix.”

McLaren has a storied history in the Indianapolis 500. Company founder Bruce McLaren fielded a car in the 1970 race, although he failed to qualify in it. The next year, after McLaren died, Mark Donohue qualified a Penske-entered McLaren in the second position but completed only 66 laps and finished 25th. In 1972, Donohue won the 500, the first of a record 16 for Team Penske and the first of three McLaren victories at IMS. Johnny Rutherford won the other two, in 1974 and ’76.

This appearance in the 500 comes 38 years after McLaren’s most recent attempt at IMS and Alonso’s car will carry the same papaya orange McLaren livery. Both of Rutherford’s McLaren victories came in cars of this color. Alonso’s car also will carry many of McLaren’s grand prix partners.

Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti has a link to McLaren, too. He raced for the F1 team in 1993 alongside Ayrton Senna.

Alonso has never raced an Indy car before or driven on a superspeedway, but Andretti thinks the talented 35-year-old driver can overcome that inexperience with the amount of track time afforded competitors in May. Andretti demonstrated his point through Rossi’s victory a year ago.

“I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with it fast,” Alonso said of the transition to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the 500. “I’ve watched a lot of Indy car action on TV and online, and it’s clear that great precision is required to race in close proximity with other cars on the far side of 220 mph. I realize I’ll be on a steep learning curve, but I’ll be flying to Indianapolis from Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix (May 14), practicing our McLaren/Andretti car at Indy from May 15 onwards, hopefully clocking up a large number of miles every day.

“I know how good the Andretti Autosport guys are. I’ll be proud to race with them and I intend to mine their knowledge and expertise for as much info as I possibly can.”

Andretti Autosport has won the 500 with four drivers: Tony Kanaan (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014) and Rossi (2016).

“Could history repeat itself? Stranger things have happened,” Miles said of another possible rookie winner. “But whether or not Fernando wins this year, I’m thrilled that the name of McLaren will be returning to Indianapolis. Three times in the 1970s the Indy 500 was won by a driver at the wheel of a McLaren – one win for Mark Donohue and two wins for Johnny Rutherford – and I’m sure Johnny will be at the Brickyard again this year to cheer on his old team.

“Last but not least, we should all remember Bruce McLaren, the team’s founder, a brilliant driver-engineer-entrepreneur who was tragically killed while testing a McLaren M8D Can-Am car at Goodwood 47 long years ago and who will finally and rightfully be inducted to the Auto Racing Hall of Fame this year.”

McLaren will be inducted in May along with Franchitti, the three-time 500 winner and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion.

Miles credited Alonso, Andretti and Zak Brown, the executive director of McLaren Technology Group, for assembling the deal. Brown called Alonso “the best racing driver in the world.”

“Could Fernando win this year’s Indy 500? Well, I wouldn’t be so silly as to make any such rash prediction, but I expect him to be in the mix,” Brown said. “Put it this way: the team he’ll be racing for won the race last year, using the same Honda engine, and he’s the best racing driver in the world. That’s quite a compelling combination.”

The addition of the Alonso entry brings to six the number of cars Andretti Autosport has entered in this year’s 500. Full-season drivers Marco Andretti, Hunter-Reay, Rossi and Takuma Sato will compete, along with rookie Jack Harvey, who was named to drive the No. 50 Honda on Sunday.

Practice for the 101st running of the 500 begins May 15. Qualifying is May 20-21. Ticket information for the race is available at IMS.com.