Tag Archives: WSR

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.”

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.”