‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year (for race fans): IndyCar really begins the month of May with the Indy GP this weekend. F1 takes on Spain. And fresh faces in Formula E.
(Photo: Screenshot from Newgarden’s Instagram video as a digital letter to Simon Pagenaud and a challenge for the next #DefendThe1 tag.)
The #INDYCARautographbattle saga continues
While fans distract themselves with the going-ons and festivities surrounding the month of May in Indianapolis, the drivers, when not on track, keep themselves occupied with “fun” in the form of pranks. Last year, drivers took turns hiding a horn in various places around the track (including Marco Andretti’s RV), or placing dozens of water-filled red solo cups on the floor leading to a balloon-filled bedroom in Conor Daly’s borrowed RV living center.
This year, instead of pranks, we’re following a long battle between the 2017 IndyCar Champion, Josef Newgarden, and the 2016 IndyCar Champion, Simon Pagenaud. Tagging various items around Indianapolis or each other’s personal property (including Pagenaud’s house). This week, Newgarden’s newest item signed? Pagenaud’s RV. It reads “Your move Bro! #DefendThe1.”
De Melo to replace Fittipaldi for Indy GP
Dale Coyne has been on yet another frantic search for yet another May season, to try and fill a seat for an injured driver (remember last year it was filling Sebastien Bourdais’ seat after his death-defying crash during Indy 500 qualifying).
Last weekend, Pietro Fittipaldi suffered an open fracture to his left leg, and a break near his ankle on the right, after a crash at the Eau du Rouge corner at Spa. Fittipaldi is recovering and working with doctors in Indianapolis to help with recovery. However, the young Brazilian driver will be unable to compete in the IndyCar Grand Prix this weekend, and the Indy 500, leaving Coyne without a driver for both. It was announced teammate, Zachary Claman De Melo would replace Fittipaldi for the Grand Prix weekend. Announcements for a driver for Coyne going into the 500 will hopefully take place this week, leading into the 500 bump day and qualifying the following weekend.
IndyCar Grand Prix, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 12 4:00PM ABC and IndyCar Radio
Since its inception in 2014, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course has been dominated by Team Penske with Simon Pagenaud winning in 2014, 2016, and Will Power in 2015, 2017. If the pattern continues, Pagenaud is due to win this year, but chances are any of the four Penske drivers (as Helio Castroneves returns this weekend as well) could take the top podium spot.
However, Honda drivers Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the podium last year. Will we see another Penske win? Or will some of the top-performing Honda drivers this season, like Sebastien Bourdais, Alexander Rossi, Robert Wickens or James Hinchcliffe change the tide and bring it home?
GpGrl will be live and in-person at the #IndyGP this weekend. Stay tuned and follow along on Twitter and Instagram.
F1 TV is here
As promised, Liberty Media has delivered their digital streaming service for the Formula 1 series, just in time for the Spanish Grand Prix. And the perks of each look promising for the prices they offer.
Select from 2 access choices: F1 TV Pro and F1 TV Access. At $2.99 per month or $24.29 for yearly access, F1 TV Access provides full replays and highlights from every session, viewing of races and documentaries from the historic archives, access to live timing data, driver tracker map, tire usage history and selected team radio. For $11.99 a month or $89.99 (for a limited amount of time), you can upgrade to F1 TV Pro, which includes all of the TV Access features, as well as F1 races live or on-demand, onboard cameras, unedited team radio and live leaderboard. You can also access all of this on your F1 app on your tablet or mobile device.
Unsure if price is worth the experience? GpGrl is signing up and testing it during the Spanish GP this weekend to let you know about how all these benefits work.
Friday Practice Update
With FP2 concluding in Spain this afternoon, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton led the practice session with a 1:18.259 lap. Both Red Bulls, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, respectively followed for P2 and P3 for the practice session. Ferrari appeared plagued by troubles as Kimi Raikkonen’s session was ended early due to a potential power unit problem. FP3 will be tomorrow (Saturday) at 6:00 AM EST, with qualifying at 9:00 AM EST
Spanish GP, Sunday, May 13, 9:00 AM EST on ESPN/F1 TV
Sarrazin replaces Blomqvist at MS & AD Andretti for remainder of season
This week, it was announced Stephane Sarrazin will be replacing Tom Blomqvist in the #27 MS & AD Andretti Racing car for the final four races of the 2017/2018 season. The BMW factory driver, Blomqvist departs to focus on the manufacturer’s GT racing, which includes participation in the Nurburgring 24 hours this weekend.
Sarrazin has had a history with Formula E, starting in the inaugural season with Venturi, and jumping over to Techeetah (Jean-Eric Vergne’s current ride), midway through Season 3 of the series. His highest season finish in the series was 6th in the 2016/2017 (2nd) season.
HWA AG team to join Formula E teams next season
With the new, sleek (and sexier) body kits slated to debut for the 2018/2019 Formula E season, a new team will also join the ranks and bring the team count from 10 to 11. HWA AG will debut their new team for the 5th Formula E season. The customer team, who had been working with Venturi, was an offshoot of the Mercedes AMG program. While participating in the DTM series, where they have won all seven DTM titles.
Berlin E-Prix, May 19