Just one more week until everyone is on track and starting their championship season. IndyCar returned last weekend in St. Pete, and Formula 1 is the last man standing, as we eagerly await its start next weekend in Australia.
Liberty Media featured their experienced media chops (remember, they are the owners of the concert event empire known as LiveNation), with a new commercial spot, demonstrating the insanity and intensity of the Formula 1 season. It is a short look of things to come as the new media spots along with more open media and access to drivers and teams shows the changes that were needed to make the sport more accessible to fans, or in this case, superfans (also Tifosi).
But to be honest, the most accessible would be more ability to meet the drivers and maybe a lap around an F1 two-seater. No?
The McLaren struggle
Although McLaren opted for another engine supplier, Renault, after dumping the Honda engines that nearly parked two-time World Champion, Fernando Alonso, during every 2017 race, the legendary team is appearing to have just as much, if not more troubles. Renault engines may not be to blame as sister engine teams Renault and Red Bull appeared to have functioned and performed appropriately on their engines (with Red Bull some of the quickest laps on some of the test days). Last week it was a loose bolt on the tire that sent one of them off the car during a lap in testing. Another was a rogue bolt causing damage to the rear end, that then needed rebuilding. The failures are a sore sight as to what may be ahead of McLaren, and after the story that hit this week about Alonso’s serious consideration to take on IndyCar for the 2018 season instead, may be looking to make that sort of move sooner than later. And what may not help is the stunning, uninterrupted performance of the Honda engine in the Toro Rosso cars during the two weeks of testing. It may be a bit like pouring salt directly into the wound.
Mo’ Ferrari. Mo’ Problems.
If there’s anything Ferrari will be known for this season, it’s not so much their sandal car as it will be their incessant whining. The legendary and beloved Formula 1 team has made it a point to let everyone know they are not happy with the changes Liberty Media has issued around the sport, including the revoking of the Ferrari “veto” privileges. Whether the team will actually leave the paddock or not has yet to be announced, but the threats remain constant in the news.
Australian GP, March 25
(Apology and correction for the mistake made on earlier Short Revs pieces, which mentioned the race was March 27th, instead of the 25th.)
Bourdais win at St. Pete
What looked to be set up as a painful beginning and race for the start of IndyCar season, ended on the eighth full-course yellow caution with Coyne’s Sebastien Bourdais in 1st, Graham Rahal in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car in 2nd and Andretti’s Alexander Rossi sporting Marco Andretti’s old number, 27, in 3rd.
The man of the day though was former Mercedes DTM driver and rookie IndyCar driver Robert Wickens, driving the No. 6 SPM car and leading 69 of the 110 laps of the Firestone Grand Prix. Wickens was a surprise wildcard in the mix of potential winners going into the weekend, but it made for an interesting outcome and truly demonstrated the capabilities of the new cars–when the drivers know more on how to handle them.
We’ll see if the hype stays true to color with the upcoming Phoenix Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Return of Bump Day likely
If you haven’t been following IndyCar news much, you will have missed the announced entries for the Indy 500 race in May. The cars and drivers have been plenty announced, which has climbed to 34 entries, with Conor Daly’s entry with Dale Coyne Racing being one of the latest, and could reach as many as 36. This means, a more exciting qualifying weekend to come. #IsItMayYet
Hinch’s Honda dream If you need a spokesperson for your brand, of course you’ll pick a leader or influential person to best represent it. In this case, Honda is utilizing James Hinchcliffe, Mayor of Hinchtown, that little spot in Pocono, as well as Long Beach (remember his epic win last season?). Take a look at one of the spots (maybe this is his next career move once he’s done with IndyCar?).
Phoenix Grand Prix, April 7th
Refueling restrictor sizing change for IMSA teams
The IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship ruled this week that teams will be responsible for choosing their refueling hose restrictors. Prior to the ruling, IMSA issued sizes for each make of car in the series, allowing for a more equal refueling time between competitors. Instead of the size restriction, minimal times have been introduced per series in the championship, with Prototypes requiring a minimum of 30 seconds, GTD 40 seconds, and GTLM 34 seconds.
You can look at the comprehensive qualifying lineup for today’s race on the IMSA site.
66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Saturday, 10:30 a.m. on FS1, FS2 and Fox Sports Go, as well as IMSA TV and IMSA Radio
Punta del Este
This weekend, Formula E returns to Playa Brava Beach in Uruguay for the 2018 CBMM Niobium Punta del Este E-Prix. The 20 turn, 2.785 km course saw the likes of Sebastien Buemi take the win last year. This is a chance to see the Championship lead, Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne create more space in his lead ahead of Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist. Or will the Mexico City E-Prix winner, Audi driver Daniel Abt, take another win and bring himself among the the top five championship contenders?
2018 CBMM Niobium Punta del Este E-Prix
Saturday, 12:30 EST on FS1.