A relatively quiet week in motorsports, as there are some big breaks in-between IMSA (next up Sebring) and Formula E (next up is Mexico City) races the last couple of weeks. Formula 1 is heating up, and IndyCar owns the media feeds with testing and media days in Phoenix.
(Featured image: Scott Dixon with new PNC livery testing at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway. Photo by Chris Jones, from IndyCar Media)
Testing this week in Phoenix
If you follow any of your favorite drivers on any form of social media this week, you’ve caught glimpses of photoshoots, paint schemes, cars and track action as the entire series tests and prepares for the media blitz that is the 2018 season down in Phoenix. Chip’s Scott Dixon announces PNC Bank as his primary sponsor. Marco Andretti shows off his new U.S. Concrete-sponsored duds. And everyone plays the comedian when it comes to the camera.
Last Man Standing
The last seat of the IndyCar series is finally filled, at least for the full-time season. Dale Coyne Racing announced in Phoenix this week Canadian driver and former Indy Lights driver, Zach Claman De Melo, and Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi will share the seat for the 2018 season. If that last name looks familiar, it’s because Pietro is in fact the grandson of two-time Formula 1 Champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Emerson Fittipaldi.
What names we won’t see on the full time roster? As of right now, Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly, both former drivers of A.J. Foyt racing. Their old seats belong to Tony Kanaan, after he was let go from Ganassi and fellow Brazilian driver Matt Leist, who last year ran in the Indy Lights series with Carlin racing. Munoz, however, has nabbed a 500 seat with the Andretti Autosport team, whom he ran with prior to his jump to Foyt’s team for 2017. Daly is still without a ride. Helio Castroneves will be driving with Team Penske for the 500, but running the Penske Acura car for the full season in the IMSA Prototype series. And don’t forget J.R. Hildebrand, who also isn’t on the Indy roster after splitting with Ed Carpenter Racing at the end of the 2017 season. Although, after his valiant third place finish after being cleared to race breaking his hand in Texas last season, it’s curious as to why he lost out on a seat as well.
Castroneves Honored at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Announced today, Helio Castroneves will be the Grand Marshal of the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Although it may hurt a little to be at the festivities without participating in the race, the grand prix is planning on honoring Castroneves’ 20 year IndyCar career throughout the weekend.
The Amazing Race continued
Team IndyCar survives another week in The Amazing Race after the two-hour episode aired on Wednesday. Rossi chooses a horse over a motor vehicle, while Daly gets his SUV stuck in the mud and both show off their passable singing and dance skills in Africa. If you missed the action you can catch it on CBS.com.
As the Grid Girls topic continues…Formula 1 announced they will be replacing the Grid Girls with Grid Kids, consisting of kids competing in karting or junior categories who will be chosen by national motorsport authorities. A dream for those kids. A bummer for those who aren’t participating or cannot afford to participate in those series. But that is a conversation for another time.
We can see your halo
Mercedes dared to comment and say the new halo would be able to take the weight of a London double-decker bus. How the device can stop an eight ton vehicle…it appears not anyone has been able to answer that. However one thing still remains the same–it still looks godawful.