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Dario Franchitti took the racing world by surprise on November 14, 2013, when he announced his retirement from racing due to injuries sustained in an Oct 6, 2013, crash and the advice of his doctors.
Among those surprised were his teammate, Scott Dixon, and his team owner, Chip Ganassi, who received a call from Scotland, where Franchitti went after medical tests in Miami. “There was something different in his voice,” Ganassi recalled. “His demeanor was different. I immediately asked what was wrong.”
What was wrong was the potential for serious injury if there was a repeat of the type of concussion Franchitti had incurred. Although Ganassi indicates that the Scotsman is expected to make a full recovery, another incident could have a far different outcome.
“He’s heartbroken,” Ganassi said, “but he’s a realist. He doesn’t want to put himself or anyone else at risk. He wouldn’t give the sport a black eye by disregarding medical advice.”
Thus, the four-time IndyCar series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner who has been a part of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing family for so many years will have to give up his seat in the #10 car, ending his driving career tied for eighth on the all-time list with 31 career wins and 33 pole positions.
“His name is up there with the greats,” Ganassi eulogized, noting that Franchitti is the only driver in history to win three consecutive titles.
Recognizing that Franchitti would have preferred to leave on his own terms and that it is disheartening to be told by his doctors that he must quit, Ganassi intends to retain him in some role. “He loves the sport, he understands the sport. He wants to stay involved, so he will continue with the team in some capacity. He will be a great ambassador. It will be a new chapter in his career.”
While Ganassi said the focus is on Franchitti, he now has two seats to fill because he remains committed to running a four-car team in 2014. Drivers signed to the team include reigning series champion Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball. “The 10 car has strong sponsorship. Target has given its support for moving forward.”
Although he claims he hasn’t decided whether to hire a “proven talent” or a “young up-and-comer,” Ganassi said there are “better places to come in than the 10 car. I would love the opportunity to give a young guy a chance, but those are big shoes to fill; there’s a lot to it, including helping his teammates.” Ultimately, he said, he will follow the advice of former engineer Morris Nunn, who told him to “take the best driver available at the time.”
Statement from Dario Franchitti:
Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority. I am eternally grateful for the medical care I have received over the last several weeks. I’d also like to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support.
One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.
Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it’s really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series championship.
I’d like to thank all my fellow competitors, teammates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I’d also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all my fans around the world. I can’t thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.
I’ll forever look back on my time racing in CART and the IndyCar Series with fond memories and the relationships I’ve forged in the sport will last a lifetime.
Hopefully in time, I’ll be able to continue in some off-track capacity with the IndyCar Series. I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I’ll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I’ve made over the years at Target.
IndyCar has always struggled to come up with a suitable schedule that maximizes TV audiences without conflicting with football. Through the years, a variety of excuses has been distributed, including competition from CART and NASCAR. Despite “the merge” and numerous personnel changes at the executive level, some things never change … unless they could possibly get worse.
In recent years, an extended off-season has resulted in regular lay-offs at many teams. Previously due to the lack of need for testing of a car run for years, lay-offs are now most often due to a lack of funds. Money is tight when sponsorships are limited. One of the first expenses teams are willing to cut is employee salaries and benefits. Teams gamble on finding qualified crew people to hire just before the season begins, work them to death in preparation, and then cut them loose in September to save costs. It’s sad treatment of longtime racers who are dedicated to the sport.
Meanwhile, prime racing months – September and October – are void of IndyCar competition. Fans cry out for races, particularly at favorite traditional venues such as Road America, MIS, PIR and Laguna Seca, but series officials fret over TV numbers once football season commences, so they now shy away from idyllic weather, opting instead to cram a full season in back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back weekends of racing early in the year, with no time for teams – or fans – to catch their breath. The second half of the season, with repeated three-week breaks, is anti-climactic for all involved. By the time the championship is decided, it’s a wonder anyone still remembers it’s going on.
The situation has long needed overhauling. The appointment of Derrick Walker as IndyCar’s president of operations and competition gave hope to those working in the industry that common sense would prevail as a man with experience and understanding worked to shape the series’ future. Now some of them are wondering what happened to that promising prospect.
The 2014 schedule will look little different than the two seasons before it, with the season ending by Labor Day. Minor tweaks will have little effect. St. Pete might become a doubleheader, Pocono is likely to be expanded to a 500-miler and Brazil will probably move to a new date due to a conflict with Carnival … or move off the schedule completely.
To accommodate the late-summer end of the season, Fontana may be moved to June, a month that already has four races on the schedule. Adding it to the end of June would extend the five-week-straight run of races to eight weeks – and actually, more than that when opening weekend and qualifying weekend at the Brickyard are included. In addition, rumors are running strong that a road course race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be added at the beginning of May.
June is a hot month for Fontana, as August is a hot month for Texas. Two double-headers and three 500-milers would be in the mix with road courses, short ovals and large ovals. It’s a lot for crews to handle.
Instead of strengthening IndyCar’s American base and solidifying a sensible schedule from March to October that doesn’t hold teams hostage for weeks on end, Walker is reportedly considering sending them off shore for a winter championship in 2015.
According to Autosport, the purpose is to provide teams with new revenue streams. However, considering the complaints of nearly every team about the costs of competing in IndyCar, the cost of the DW12 and of spares, and the difficulty in procuring sponsorship, it’s hard to imagine how they would have the finances to fund a second championship off the continent. If, as Walker has outlined, the races are non-points-paying, it’s hard to imagine why teams would bother.
As he told Autosport, “Our teams need income and an international component to their season would help strengthen their financial position.” Someone should inform Walker that races are an expense for teams, not a source of income.
Another possibility Walker is reputed to be considering is beginning the season overseas as early as January. While it’s laudable that he wants to reduce the off-season and he recognizes that there isn’t much for teams to do from September to October, it seems inconceivable that he would prefer to alienate American fans by starting the season out of the country – although, as he says, it’s better than ending it there.
The problem is that extending the series to October doesn’t mean the season has to end on foreign soil. It just means racing has to compete against football. Other series survive the stick-and-ball sports, begging the question of IndyCar’s health and the mystery of which will sound its death knell sooner: losing American fans through foreign races or to football.
With draft agreements already in place with a number of promoters and has proposed a five-event schedule starting at the end of 2014, thanks to a European group called World Series Operations, the answer may soon be in hand.
IndyCar appears to want to make it more difficult for fans and crews. There is no schedule continuity: race dates change from year to year. Start times change from week to week, with Saturday night races and double headers thrown in for added confusion. Cross-country back-to-back races and races for weeks on end – with a test thrown into an already killer schedule – followed by months-long lay-offs from September to March discourage people from working in the series. And yet, the prospect of spending the “off-season” abroad, with no break at all, is equally repellent. Is it too much to ask that IndyCar take a page from Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One schedule, where races are predominantly scheduled from March through October, mostly every other weekend, and nearly always start at 1 p.m. local time? That enables the fans to know when to expect to see their favorite sport and allows them – and the teams – a life beyond the track.Read More
Well, Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix is just around the corner (#lol) and we’re all getting excited, sort of (#omg).
Modern knights in shining social media armour (aka journos) are tweeting photos of their meals in restaurants somewhere in France or Belgium (of course), but it’s a nice change after they spent a good portion of August dropping blurry piccies of gorgeous Ibiza sunsets on my Twitter stream; drivers are busy referring to their cars as “bombs”, “babies”, “offices”. Bros and homies from #F1, #GP2 and #GP3 teams are exchanging tweets regarding travel arrangements, etc.. Just like the good old days – Formula 1 hasn’t changed that much since the enthusiastic 1950s or ’60s, computer mouse was around back then…
Not quite sure wot’s trending on Muzzlebook, I admit to being zuckerberged for a short period of time in 2009-2010, purely for professional reasons; I think kids are still exercising their fingers by hitting “like” button a zillion times a day (I like Button too, that’s true). I mean it’s fantastic: you can impersonate anybody on Twitter or Facebook – I once signed up my deceased dog on Facebook, she was quite popular. Plenty of surprises out there: I managed to find out Fake Lewis Hamilton is an old lady in her 60s – busted!
@IamLewis4fake Welcome to modern day hell (4 teenagers I assume, unless u’re 60 yr. old lady acting as a boy, but OK – I’ve seen worse).
— iberian mph (@KnownAsIberian) August 6, 2013
I don’t want to be a lamestain, but really Fake Lewis is a cob nobbler, although I totally understand it’s a harsh realm for her: a full-on grandma learning the basics of social media…
You may argue Imma big bag of bloatation or something – I’ll prove y’all wrong.
I’m a terribly informed person when it comes to Formula 1, this is why I’ve been constantly thinking about (Ma)FIA’s latest pitlane safety rules.
Here’s a quick reminder of what I’m talking about (baby):
“In the interests of safety it has been decided that media access to the pitlane will be greatly reduced during all Formula One free practice sessions.
From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, media (both journalists and photographers) wishing to access the pitlane will be required to wear a special tabard. 25 tabards will be available per session and will be allocated by the FIA Media Delegate, based upon requests received.”
That’s another harsh realm you would say – wrong! I say it’s a score! Believe a guy who was about to be run over by F1, GP2/GP3 machinery on multiple occasions (see photographic evidence below).
While ordinary F1 fans are usually bound-and-hagged, F1 insiders are swingin’ on the flippity-flop in the paddock wearing their D&G wack slacks, kickers and fuzz (quite suitable for Spa weather). BBC/Sky F1 ladies in plats are interviewing dishes, I know it’s tough to realize what’s really happening for the tom-tom club or the amount of things/people that are happening on a normal F1 weekend…
Now, imagine this mighty collective farm invading the pitlane – a disaster waiting to happen with bits and pieces of equipment constantly flying around. (Ma)FIA, I salute you.
I’m always ahead of my time – always been – and mark my words, in the near future journalism will become obsolete; you can easily send a bunch of cob nobblers with iPhones to every circuit on the calendar and they’ll cover the event from every possible angle. It’s pretty irrelevant what Christian Horner has to bark into a mic during qualifying on the pit wall (it will be PR fun and games anyway), gimme a good tweet instead! Empty pitlane=exploding twitter feed.
Lexicon of F1 insiders:
WACK SLACKS: Old ripped jeans by D&G
FUZZ: Heavy wool sweaters
PLATS: Nice platform shoes
KICKERS: Heavy expensive boots
SWINGIN’ ON THE FLIPPITY-FLOP: Hanging out in the paddock
BOUND-AND-HAGGED: Staying home on Friday or Saturday night
HARSH REALM: Bummer
COB NOBBLER: Loser
DISH: Desirable F1 driver
BLOATED, BIG BAG OF BLOATATION: Drunk
LAMESTAIN: Uncool person
TOM-TOM CLUB: Uncool paddock outsiders
ROCK ON: A happy goodbyeRead More
What 54-year-old couldn’t use a facelift? Daytona International Speedway is undergoing a dramatic overhaul intended to create a modern look and feel for the aging frontstretch grandstands.
Calling it a “complete reimagining” of an American icon, International Speedway Corp., which owns and operates Daytona and 12 other NASCAR tracks, produced a design featuring many amenities commonly found in modern NFL stadiums, such as wide concourses, themed restaurants, gathering areas with video screens and wifi capability, five expanded and redesigned entrances, a new pedestrian bridge and the addition of 40 escalators.
The $400 million construction budget makes this redevelopment project the largest capital improvement project in ISC history. Officials like to think of it as “preparing for next 50 years: predicting the future for the fans and the sport.” Such innovative thinking is in keeping with the track’s history.
Built in 1958 by NASCAR founder William France Sr., the revolutionary high-banked 2.5-mile tri-oval permitted faster speeds and enhanced the fans’ view. Lights were installed around the track in 1998, making it the third-largest single lit outdoor sports facility.
Home of the Daytona 500, the Florida track also hosts races of other series, including ARCA, AMA Superbike, Grand-Am, SCCE and Motocross. A 3.81-mile road course, built in 1959, incorporates part of the oval. Since 1966, it has been the site of a 24-hour endurance race for sports cars. A 29-acre lake in the 180-acre infield has hosted powerboat racing.
A 0.4-mile short track was constructed along the backstretch of the Speedway’s main course for NASCAR’s lower-tier series. A quarter-mile dirt track outside of Turns 1 and 2 of the main superspeedway opened in 2009.
The famed speedway has been renovated three times: an infield renovation in 2004 and track repaving in 1978 and 2010.
The intent of the project, according to ISC, is to enhance the overall experience for the fans, marketing partners and the motorsports industry by creating a world-class facility with premium amenities. “We are truly creating history with this unprecedented endeavor, said ISC’s chief operating officer Lesa France Kennedy. “The decision was made with strong consideration of the current macroeconomic condition and a clear view for our long-term growth.”
ISC’s clear view extends to providing fans with a superior racing experience. The process, started more than a year ago, will provide more accommodating, expanded entrances along International Speedway Boulevard that lead directly to a series of escalators and elevators, which transport fans to three different concourse levels, each of which features spacious and strategically place social “neighborhoods” along the nearly one-mile-long frontstretch.
The 11 neighborhoods, each measuring the size of a football field, will allow fans to socialize during events without missing any action on the track, thanks to an open-sightline design and the addition of dozens of video screens. The central neighborhood, dubbed the “World Center of Racing,” will celebrate the history of Daytona International Speedway and its many unforgettable moments throughout more than 50 years of racing.
Every seat along the Speedway frontstretch will be replaced with wider and more comfortable seating. More restrooms and concession stands will be added throughout the facility.
The project also includes the removal of backstretch grandstands. “We cannot provide the same experience back there that we can provide on the front stretch,” explains DIS President Joie Chitwood III. “No matter whether you sit in the front row, the middle or the top row, we want the fans to have access to all the amenities, and we can do that on the front stretch. On the back stretch, you feel disconnected from the venue. We listened to the fans back there.”
Once, tracks added seats for NASCAR races, but these days, reducing capacity is the new trend. International Speedway Corp. announced it will continue decreasing seating capacity at its racetracks to create more ticket demand.
When the project is complete, Daytona will have reduced its capacity by 46,000 seats to 101,000, with the potential to increase permanent seating to 125,000 if needed in the future. ISC will target seating that doesn’t include sightlines to pit road and the opportunity for fans to take advantage of prerace events and track amenities.
“There [are] simply too many seats in inventory at several facilities in our portfolio,” ISC President John Saunders points out. “The seats that we have today don’t necessarily offer or project the best experience for our fans. An engaged customer, one who understands the sport and has a good at-track experience, is more likely to return.”
No seating or capacity changes will be made for Speedweeks 2014. The capacity decrease “could occur in stages,” according to track officials.
“We will take great care of our loyal existing customers throughout this renovation,” Saunders adds. “They can expect to receive additional direct communication as we proceed with construction.”
No new taxes were levied to pay for this project
Vast as the project is, ISC was forced to reduce the scale of the redevelopment when they failed to secure a public/private partnership with the state of Florida. Plans for renovation of the midway outside the track were eliminated from the revised plans due to the decision by Florida’s legislature not to assist with public funds. “The major overhaul of the midway area was taken out,” Chitwood reiterates. “The midway area is all the ground between the gates and International Speedway Boulevard.”
Instead, ISC will fund the project from its coffers, using a majority of the $600 million capital expenditure budget it has for all of its tracks combined over a five-year period from 2013 to 2017.
Despite the major investment being made and reduced seating capacity, Chitwood assures fans that ticket prices will continue to be affordable, coolers will be allowed and free parking will be available. “We are not going to turn around and leverage ticket prices; we know our fans need good entry-level pricing.”
Meanwhile, DIS officials continue to press the state to change its mind about the initiative. “I do believe we have a great story to tell and I do believe we should be treated more fairly like the other sports properties in terms of sales tax rebates,” Chitwood said, promising to go to Tallahassee frequently to remind state leaders how special Daytona is, and that ISC is making a huge investment not only to the Daytona area and Volusia County, but to the state of Florida as well.
DIS has created more than 18,000 permanent Florida jobs and contributes over $1.6 billion annually to the state’s economy. The Daytona International Speedway Frontstretch Improvement and Mixed-Use Facility projects are expected to add 4,250 new construction jobs and nearly 1,300 permanent jobs. Whenever possible, local labor, contractors and suppliers will be used. An official statement from ISC and DIS notes that not only are both headquartered in Florida, they also add significantly to the state’s employment and revenue stream.
Until the state changes its mind about providing funding, Chitwood says, “I am proud to say that we have been able to retain all the amenities that we wanted to have in the grandstand structure in terms of the entrances, the seat comfort, restrooms and all those elements.”
While not as ambitious as initially proposed, the renovation is still considered substantive and the hope is that once completed, it will turn Daytona, which officials have dubbed the “World Center of Racing,” into a show place.
Lesa France Kennedy, ISC’s CEO, said the project would be “truly creating history with this unprecedented endeavor. I commend the board’s decision to move forward on our plan to redevelop the company’s signature motor sports facility, thereby shaping the vision of Daytona for the next 50 years.”
On the Monday following the Coke Zero 400, Chitwood staged an unusual ground-breaking ceremony that pitted current and former NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs in a driving-skills test – a competition on Caterpillar front-end loaders. The winning team earned the honor of breaking ground on the redesign.
The three-year project is scheduled to be completed by January 2016, just prior to the Rolex24 endurance race. The dates of its races — including all February Speedweeks activity and the July 4 race week — will be unaffected next year, but it’s unclear how construction could affect the track’s events beyond 2014. “Obviously, if we’re going to do anything different than what we do (now), we’ll let everybody know,” Chitwood said. “Right now, we’re just trying to get through ‘14.”Read More
GP3 Series Round 2 Valencia – Spain
Circuito de Ricardo Tormo 15 – 16 June 2013
The GP3 series visited the beautiful city of Valencia, Spain located on the Mediterranean coast. The city until recently hosted the Formula One European GP on a specially adapted street circuit around the busy port (where we did a bit of F1 driver photo hunting back in 2010, gr8, LOL!).
This weekend (15 -16 JUN 2013) the GP3 event comprising of free practice, qualifying, race 1 and race 2 was held at the Circuito de Ricardo Tormo, named after a local famous GP motor bike racer. The track was built in 1999, holds up to 120.000 spectators (60.000 seated) is 2.5 miles in length and has 14 corners. Famous names who have been associated with the track are two time world champion Fernando Alonso (he basically started his F1 career here), Adrian Campos (ex-F1 driver and now team owner of Campos Racing) Hector Barbara, MotoGP rider and many more.
Unfortunately this particular GP3 event is classed as a stand-alone meeting. Yes, it means what it says, no support races – just GP3. I must confess, apart from going to F1 testing which is just F1 cars running on track throughout the day, this is the first time I have been to such an event and probably the last. We had to wait 4 hours between the end of the practice session and qualifying and on Sunday, race day, over 3 hours. Why am I moaning at least I got my “fix” of fast cars, loud noise, smell of oil and rubber and pretty women.
Talking of women, GP3 has two talented racing drivers Carmen Jordá, a local Spanish girl (Bamboo) and Samin Gómez from Venezuela (Jenzer Motorsport). Carmen started racing when she was 10 years old and has competed successfully in quite a few championships including Indy Lights in 2010 with Andersen Racing.
Now you”re getting into the mood to read more, GP3 Series comprises 9 teams (all GP3 illiterate people! make sure you pay close attention): ART GP, MW Arden, Carlin, Jenzer Motorsport, Marussia Manor Racing, Status Grand Prix, Bamboo Engineering, Trident, Koiranen GP and 27 young talented drivers from around the world all wanting to win the 2013 championship and get a Formula One drive in 2014 (well, I hope you have a very rich family or sponsor because I doubt you”ll get a paid drive in Formula One the way it stands today and that”s a sad reflection, speed and raw talent don”t count for much……..[killing them softly! never give up, folks!!!]).
Let us talk about this GP3 event: The Circuito de Ricardo Tormo is an hour”s drive for me and really my local race track. It is spectator-friendly with good views of 90 percent of the track from any of the stands. It has hosted the final round of MotoGP and we have seen DTM (German touring car championship), WTCC (World Touring Car Championship), Ferrari World Finals (which included them bringing their current and past F1 cars plus vintage racing cars going back to the 1930s and they raced them, great to see and appreciate those bygone racing times).
The 2013 GP3 car is made by Dallara, it has a 3.4 litre V6 400bhp naturally aspirated engine, fly by wire throttle system, 6 speed sequential gear box with steering wheel paddle change, including the clutch. Top speed around the 190mph, basically they are a mini F1 car (oh yeah, TV doesn”t make GP3 machinery any justice, go and see them live!).
This weekend which started in a fun way with a few GP3 drivers going up against some press guys on the karting track. Those drivers that took part were Carmen Jordá, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Nick Yelloly, Melville McKee and Patric Niederhauser. Everybody that took part had fun but, of course you guessed it, the fastest times were all GP3 drivers (and I reckon they used the time as a little bit more of “unofficial” practice).
The weather was scorching, yes bloody hot. Pirelli (no, that is not a dirty word although some may think so!) brought medium compound tires for the event. Without wanting to be too political, I somehow felt with the temperatures as high as they were the tires were going to be at their limit. Each car/driver was allowed three sets of tires for the weekend. Have an accident or do heavy braking and flat spot your tires, hard luck – you will have to use one of the other remaining two sets of tires (and no, you cannot mix and match…. a set is a set).
I know someone will say but it is the same for all the drivers so what”s wrong with that? I will tell you what”s wrong, I thought these young drivers and fast cars were all about speed and who can go the fastest, real close bumper to bumper racing, now it”s all about “tire management”. The same goes for Formula One and GP2 who all use Pirelli tires. Now I ask you “Is the dog wagging the tail or the tail wagging the dog”? You can be sure many of the great drivers of F1 will be rolling over in their graves at such a change or pretend they never had anything to do with F1. My opinion for what it is worth, get rid of Pirelli rubber and bring in proper tires that the drivers can race on. Being dictated to by a tire manufacturer is just wrong (although to give Pirelli some credit, they “decided to make more use of the harder compounds for the GP3 races so that the drivers can push their cars closer to the limit but still learn about tyre management”).
Saturday morning saw the free practice session get under way. All the teams and drivers had 45 minutes to test the cars set up and learn the track which was resurfaced last year. As I walked up and down pit lane and looked in the garages, I got the same feeling that all the drivers were saying the same thing, the tires were taking a lot of time to get up to temperature and the grip levels were not there. The engineers were attaching their computers and looking at the data and mechanics would make small changes to the set-up but at the end of the session. The talk was all about tires.
Fastest in practice had been Kevin Korjus (Koiranen GP) then Nick Yelloly (Carlin) and third was Patric Niederhauser (Jenzer Motorsport), fourth was the local hero Carlos Sainz Jnr (MW Arden).
Now came the long wait I mentioned earlier. The teams had over four hours until qualifying started so plenty of time to make any adjustments to the cars settings because once the cars had completed qualifying they would be in parc ferme conditions and could not be worked on.
I did make use of my time. I was clearly aware that as I was covering the race event for various US-based publications, I should try to interview Conor Daly. I am pleased to say that not only did I get to speak with Conor, I also got to meet his dad who acts as Conor”s manager. Derek Daly competed in F1 back in the late 70s till the early 80s and raced alongside the likes of Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Keke Rosberg, Nigel Mansell and Eddie Cheever. He then went on to Cart racing until 1990. Not being satisfied with that, Derek also competed in the Le Mans 24hour endurance race for 3 consecutive years. If Derek has racing in his blood you can be sure that Conor has.
As Conor was getting ready to qualify I had a chance to talk to him, here is what he said.
Tony: Firstly congratulations on your first Indy 500 race. How did it feel to finish the race?
Conor: It was great, the race was awesome, we had a few problems but we were able to finish the race.
Tony: Tell us about the accident hitting the wall at such a high speed, were you hurt at all or bruised?
Conor: For sure, it was the biggest accident I”ve had in my career but I was unhurt fortunately.
Tony: Did AJ (Foyt) have anything to say, did you get told off for damaging the car so badly?
Conor: No, the team were very good, the car was repaired for the following day, they even said “sorry, we”re still not sure what happened” but I don”t think it was my fault.
Tony: Now back in Europe and GP3, I bet you notice the difference in power between the Indy car and GP3 car?
Conor: Well, not really so much. Over there the speeds are more constant but when you are doing over 220[iberian]mph you sure know it!
Tony: What are your plans for the future, go up to GP2 or try to skip that and straight into F1?
Conor: Well, I”d like to win the GP3 this season and yes, if an opportunity came up for F1 that would be great but it costs a lot of money.
Tony: Is it good having your father with you on race weekends?
Conor: “He acts as my manager but yes he is a big help and has All Slots Casino was thrilled to hear of Ion M’s big Jackpot wins and wished him the best of luck in all of his future online gaming. a lot of knowledge.
Tony thanks Conor and wishes him best of luck for qualifying and the two races.
Whether Conor got some inspiration from our interview I”m not sure but he went out and qualified on pole position in the 30 min session. There were two red flags during the period the last one being in the final minutes. When the track was clear and the lights went to green there was just 1min55 sec remaining, which meant just one flying lap for those intent on knocking Conor off pole position. He had remained in his garage hoping his time was fast enough not to be beaten and to save tires. The decision had been a good one and his time held up. Conor Daly had secured a debut pole position. Second and third went to Daniil Kvyat (MW Arden) and Nick Yelloly (Carlin). Unfortunately Yelloly in car 8 was disqualified when his car was found to be too low to the ground and infringed the rules. He would be allowed to start from the back of the grid.
During the press conference Conor explained that the team (ART) had worked hard on improving the car”s setup since the last race in Barcelona and clearly the work had paid off but of course the race would be all about conserving the tires and not making them go beyond their limit (yes, you got it, that means no pure racing just going fast enough for the tires to hold out…..great,eh?).
Sunday and race day. Normally GP3 race events are held alongside GP2 and F1, it”s a supporting event so the timetable is different. Practice would be on the Friday, qualifying on the Saturday as would race one and race two would be on the Sunday. Not this weekend, the drivers were going to have two races, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Again the weather was just perfect, hot and sunny and not a cloud in the sky. The cars formed on the grid with Conor on pole. The lights went to green and the cars were off, Conor led into the first corner and he never looked like losing the lead. His team-mate Facu Regalia was second and clearly wanted to attempt an out-braking manoeuvre on Conor but thought better of it due to the track not being very wide and really not a lot of areas where safe overtaking can be attempted. I know the F1 drivers, when they visit for winter testing, say that the track is like an over-sized go-kart track. Mind you, I like it as it is close to home.
After 18 laps, Daly took the chequered flag in first place, Regalia coming in second and Korjus third. I am sure dad Derek was proud of his son. I think the best drive had to have been that from Nick Yelloly (Carlin) who started from the back of the grid and clawed his way up to twelth. Who said you couldn”t overtake here at Valencia?
Race Two which followed in the afternoon has what they call a reverse grid. You may think it strange but basically the first eight placed drivers change grid positions for the second race, ie P1 to P8, P2 to P7 and those who finished outside the top eight start the second race on the grid position they finished in the first race. Also, the points awarded for the second race are less than for the first.
So the order for the first race was Daly, Regalia, Korjus, Kvyat, Sainz, Ellinas, Vainio and Visoiu. Change them around and you’ve got yourself the starting order for race two.
As the race approached the cars which had been in parc ferme following race one were released and the mechanics were all over them, one unfortunate team (Carlin) had to change the gearbox on one car and repair a broken gear on another. The mechanics did a fantastic job and got both cars out and onto the grid (kudos).
Temperatures were soaring with a track temp almost 60ºC and air temp 35ºC, inside the cars it must have been those two temps combined together, yes very hot. The race got under way and again we saw the pole man Visoiu (MW Arden) (from the reverse ordered grid) go into the first corner in the lead closely followed by Vainio (Koiranen). The rest of the field followed with only Carlos Sainz Jnr being able to move up the order in the first eight starters but the race again really went to Yelloly who gained 3 places to finish 9th but outside the points. He will surely be a driver to watch this year.
Overall my opinion of GP3 is that it is a good series, the car is good, fast and noisy just what the fans want to see and hear. The majority of the young drivers are good and have confidence in the drivers around them so are happy with close racing, especially the start of the race.
Now I do see a problem ahead. In GP3 there are 27 drivers all wanting to make it into F1, we also have the GP2 series which again has about the same number of drivers all wanting the same thing but F1 currently only has only 22 drivers, some who have contracts until 2016, others (the paying drivers) are there until their sponsorship runs out, then maybe one of these drivers with lots of cash will get a drive, we will see.
All pics/text by @TonyJaveaF1
Witty/funny comments by yours truly.Read More
Hallo, my little droogies. Ça va?
As I”m sitting here sipping on decaf “coffee” and staring at Tejo river from me Lisbon apartment, I find myself writing about the FIA Formula E championship. First of all, let me assure and reassure you that “E” stands for “electric” and not “Ecclestone”, it”s the future of racing they say… Mr E seems a bit old to be considered as the future of anything at all!
Also, appy-polly-logies for taking some time to put the virtual pen to the virtual paper, I had some things to take care of.
Aye, in case you missed it: Formula E recently paid visit to the USA, LA in particular where Lucas di Grassi – who needs no introduction – electrified the crowds with a demo (much “noise” of it was made on ); obviously, it”s a part of PR for the championship.
The actual car will look a bit more attractive, have no fear, amigos e amigas. Here”s a piccie…
With my curiosity levels increasing increasingly – or increasingly increasing? – I caught up with Formula E people and asked some serious questions, I”m a very serious writer and in many languages it has to be said!
So what do we know about Formula E?
The Championship will be the world”s first fully-electric Formula series (single-seater cars) racing on 10 street circuits worldwide beginning in 2014. There will be 10 teams each with two drivers. The cars themselves will be very impressive, capable of going from 0-100kph (60mph) in three seconds. They”re being built by a new French company called Spark Racing Technologies with help from Renault car company and using a chassis designed by Italian firm Dallara, using a powertrain from McLaren. They will also race on Michelin tyres.
Can one expect technical wars, sort of F1 style?
Capping costs is very important to Formula E and budgets are certainly going to be considerably less than say that of a Formula 1 team. The idea is to create an open championship to encourage competition between cars and drivers, where the best technology and the best pilot will win. In the first year, all teams will use the same car, but after that they will be free to design their own providing it complies with the FIA regulations.
Is there a chance drivers might freak out after switching from “normal” petrol-powered racing cars to Formula E challengers?
The cars are actually quite similar from a driver”s viewpoint with just a few differences. The main one is the torque. Electric motors have instant power so there”s no lag. An electric motor is much better for a driver because you can control the torque much more easily. The tricky part though is managing the battery life. The more you push the quicker it drains so when racing it will be a real balancing act for the drivers to know how to mange this. It will be a great strategy, a bit like managing tyres are in an F1 race. The car can reach speeds of more than 220kph (140mph) and go from 0-100kph in three seconds. Due to the fact that Formula E will race on street circuits though, the top speed has to be limited due to the regulations so the actual top speed could be much more!
Do we seriously think Formula E can compete with NASCAR in the US? Surely you can”t win over petrolheads with passion for the noise and smell.
Formula E organisers are certain the championship is going to appeal to a different type of motorsport fan…the “electric-head” if you like! First and foremost the task is to create exciting and competitive racing which will be achieved with features like the drivers pitting to change cars, not tyres!
But there”ll also be great on and off track entertainment for the whole family plus in the evening Formula E events will be putting on a large-scale music concert. Races will also take place in one day as opposed to being spread out over a weekend and will have much more of a family environment by using city centre locations that are easily accessible and of course the reduction in noise pollution means young children won”t be put off.
After this persuasive agrument I can indeed picture a young kid, maybe the next Jim Clark or Dan Gurney, becoming obsessed with electric racing and driving his dad”s Leaf around the city centre in secret. Hopefully, it”s Leaf and not the Tesla Roadster!Read More
TV ratings for the IZOD IndyCar 2013 have been in decline all season, with this year’s Indianapolis 500 earning a 3.8, the lowest since the race began airing live in 1986 and the fifth consecutive year in which it has been lower than the previous year.
Attendance at all events has also diminished, despite accolades from the media about good racing and self-congratulatory plaudits from the drivers about this being the deepest pool of talent in decades.
Skeptics point to previous eras laden with talent, periods that also included innovation in the cars instead of today’s spec racing that may have more to do with bunching up the field than supporters are willing to admit.
Nevertheless, in an unpredictable season that has produced six different winners in seven races – none of whom drive for either Penske or Ganassi – the racing has been close and exciting. But does anyone care? The TV ratings have not yet been released, but attendance at the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader was lackluster and it would be surprising to learn that significant numbers of people stopped to watch races at 3:30 Eastern on both Saturday and Sunday.
Charged with renewing interest in American open wheel racing, former IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard threw everything from his bag of tricks at the problem. His legacy included double headers and double-file restarts, both of which were seen — or not — on the 2.36-mile Belle Isle street course in Detroit.Read More