March means racing season is finally here. The next four weeks will be quite active trackside as Formula E returns for the Mexico City E-Prix this weekend. Next weekend is IndyCar in St. Pete. IMSA returns the following weekend for the second race of the season at Sebring and Formula 1 finishes the month with their season start down under in Australia. It’s time for lights out and checkered flags.
Image: From “The Fast Four” on IndyCar.
The Fast Four
IndyCar released an animated episode this week called, “The Fast Four,” featuring four IndyCar drivers with superhuman powers. Josef Newgarden is “The Spark,” James Hinchcliffe is “The Mayor,” Scott Dixon is “The Iceman,” and Takuma Sato is “The Fighter.” The 2-minute spot is an animated story advertisement for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, coming up next weekend.
Josef Newgarden’s “How to be a Champion”
Ever wonder how you could become a champion? Today, 2017 IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden releases the first episode of his series, “How to Be a Champion.” Newgarden touches on points through his “confusing journey” to achieving a Champion life. Don’t forget, they promise “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 11
Testing in Barcelona
Formula 1’s week of car and livery reveals was of course followed by a week of testing the new 2018 cars in Barcelona, Spain. Cold weather and odd problems lent to an interesting week of news from the paddocks.
Day 1, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo ran some of the fastest laps. McLaren encountered their first problems of the week as they lose a tire on the seventh lap of testing. Tuesday didn’t fare much better for McLaren with considerably poor luck considering a bolt loosened in the exhaust, causing burning and a shortened first session, along with repairing the back end. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished quickest Tuesday with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas second.
Light snow shortened Tuesday’s run, and continued into Wednesday, halting testing, except for a brave couple of laps performed by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso. Thursday offered warmer temps and more laps, where McLaren showed a pace near the Mercedes car performance. Toro Rosso, performing with McLaren’s rejected Honda engine this season, managed to complete the most laps of the testing week, at 324 laps. What that means for Toro Rosso–hopefully more promising results than McLaren’s performance with Honda last season. What that means for McLaren will be seen when F1 arrives in Australia.
Williams losing Martini after 2018
Martini is withdrawing sponsorship of Williams after the 2018 season. The iconic stripes and sponsor will celebrate Martini’s 50th year in racing this final season.
The engine tango already begun for 2019?
Renault has given Red Bull a May deadline to decide whether they will move forward with the Renault power unit for the 2019 season. Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, has indicated that the team has options for power units with rumors including Honda, considering the partnership with their “B” team, Toro Rosso.
F1 TV announced
For those of you that enjoyed your cable television subscriptions and access to NBCSN, as already announced, ESPN has taken over the airing deal with Sky F1. However, a subscription-based service will eventually be available for purchase in two versions, F1 TV Access and F1 TV Pro. Access will be offered near globally including live race timing, radio commentary and access to F1 archived video content. TV Pro will have commercial-free live streams of practice, qualifying and the race with commentary in English, German, French and Spanish, as well as press conferences, pre- and post-race interviews, all 20 on-board cameras, and live races from support series. Although it has been announced the streaming service will be available earlier in the 2018 F1 season, no specific date for availability has been released.
Ecclestone wants F1 to go Electric
Bernie Ecclestone came out this week to say Formula 1 should consider going electric. As manufacturers drop from other series to join Formula E, as well as promising to have only hybrid or electric engines in the next few years, it has become a hot topic as to the direction not only auto manufacturers are going with their cars, but what racing will become. Formula 1 already runs hybrid engines in their cars. And Formula E and Formula 1 already made comments about Formula E being the next Formula 1. That is unless, Formula 1 becomes Formula E. Has anyone told Bernie they would basically be the same series? No?
Australian GP, March 25
Christina Nielsen is a LEGO
Starting this week, you can purchase the LEGO set of the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona championship-winning No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari with a LEGO version of the two-time winning GTD champion driver Christina Nielsen. Nielsen and her winning car are the latest addition to the LEGO Speed Champions sets, including the 1966 and 2016 winning Ford GT cars, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 car and garage, and the Porsche 919 Hybrid Prototype car. Find your next race fan-loving LEGO project here.
66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 17
Viva la Mexico!
Press is gearing up and social media is a-buzz as our favorite electric series gears up for the Mexico City E-Prix this weekend. Watch a virtual lap of the track to get acquainted with the 17 turns of the track before the excitement begins tomorrow. Catch race day on Fox Sports 2 on Saturday, March 3 at 2:30 EST . For those not in the U.S., check out availability for your streaming/viewing here.
Mexico City E-Prix, Saturday
Last but not least, I’ll be helping out the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix to promote the 2018 race at Autorama in Detroit this weekend. If you’re familiar with the race, you know it features the IndyCar “Dual in Detroit,” won back-to-back by Graham Rahal last year, as well as the IMSA (sans the GTLM cars as they prepare for Le Mans), Trans Am and Super Trucks series. Come by to talk racing or try and win tickets to the race on June 2 and 3! (and FYI, I’ll be there Sunday.)