F1 Testing in Barcelona - Day Two

Full schedule for Formula 1 on NBC Sports

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The NBC Sports Group will present its most extensive and comprehensive motorsports coverage ever in 2013, with more than 200 programming hours of Formula One races, practices, qualifying, pre- and post-race studio shows, and behind-the-scenes programs. Coverage will air across NBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming platform, via TV Everywhere. Additionally, two F1 races will air on CNBC, NBCUniversal’s business channel.

Formula One, which makes its NBC Sports Group debut this week on NBC Sports Network with the Rolex Australian Grand Prix, will air four races live on NBC, 13 on NBC Sports Network, and two on CNBC. The famed Monaco Grand Prix will air live on broadcast television at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26 on NBC.

Programming for both open-wheel circuits will include significant shoulder content that is consistent with their unique brands. In addition, NBC Sports Digital will dedicate more motorsports coverage than ever. It will cover the entire racing industry with the recently launched MotorSportsTalk on NBCSports.com, and, later this year, it will live stream the circuit on NBC Sports Live Extra, via TV Everywhere.

The 2013 Formula One World Championship schedule includes all 19 races in 19 countries from March through November, including 13 on NBC Sports Network, four on NBC and two on CNBC.

COMMENTATORS: As previously announced, NBC Sports Group’s F1 booth will feature lead announcer Leigh Diffey, who will call both F1 and the IZOD IndyCar Series this year, veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, and analyst Steve Matchett, a former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team, including two years with seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher.

Rounding out the team is Will Buxton, an F1 insider and journalist, who will serve as the team’s on-site reporter. Respected by fans and critics alike, Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett and Buxton bring continuity to each telecast, as all four worked together for several years previously on SPEED’s coverage of the circuit.

ON-SITE: It is estimated that Buxton will travel more than 115,000 miles this season while covering all 19 races in 19 countries.

MIMOSAS FROM MONACO: Sunday, May 26 can arguably be called ‘the biggest day in racing’ as it features three of sport’s most famous races from three different circuits — the Monaco Grand Prix (Formula One), the Indy 500 (IndyCar) and the Coca-Cola 600 (NASCAR).

This year, the day will begin with live coverage of the famed Monaco Grand Prix on broadcast television when NBC airs the race at 7:30 a.m. ET. The entire NBC Sports F1 studio team will join Buxton on site to capture the unique glitz-and-glamor atmosphere of the Monaco Grand Prix.

NBC GRANDS PRIX: NBC will provide F1 with unprecedented exposure this year as it airs four races in 2013. In addition to Monaco, races scheduled to air on NBC are the Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal) on Sunday, June 9, the United States Grand Prix (Austin, Texas) on Sunday, November 17, and the final race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, Nov 24. The NBC Sports F1 studio team will also be on site for live coverage of the Montreal and Austin races.

Due to scheduling conflicts, CNBC, NBCUniversal’s fully-distributed business channel, will air the Grands Prix from the United Kingdom and Germany.

F1 EXTRA: NBC Sports Network’s post-race show, F1 Extra, will air live after every NBC Sports Network and CNBC race, as well as the Monaco NBC race. Post-race coverage for Canada, USA and Brazil will air on NBC. The 30-minute wrap-up show will be handled by the F1 team of Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett and Buxton.

F1 36: Three-time defending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel will be the first driver profiled in the first-ever episode of F1 36, airing Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m. ET. F1 36 is the latest in the NBC Sports Group’s original behind-the-scenes 36 series, which gives viewers an all-access pass into the life of world-class athletes. For each episode, cameras will follow a F1 driver for 36 hours, providing a behind-the-scenes look at their on- and off-track activities. The all-access 36 series, which is produced by IMS Productions, also includes NHL 36Fight Night 36, IndyCar 36 and MLS 36.

PRACTICE, QUALIFYING & RE-AIRS: NBC Sports Network will offer extensive coverage of F1 practice and qualifying throughout the season. The network will also offer a re-air of the race, often in the early afternoon, allowing viewers to enjoy coverage during a more traditional sports-viewing time period.

ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX: The first race of the season will air live from Australia on Sunday, March 17 on NBC Sports Network at 1:30 a.m. ET. The race will re-air at 1 p.m. ET. F1 action gets underway Friday, March 15 at 12 a.m. ET with the first practice session.

Following is this week’s coverage schedule for the Rolex Australian Grand Prix on NBC Sports Network:

Date Program Time Network
Friday, March 15 Practice #1 Midnight NBC Sports Network
Friday, March 15 Practice #2 1:30 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sat., March 16 Qualifying 2 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sat., March 16 Qualifying Re-Air 1:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sunday, March 17 Australian Grand Prix 1:30 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sunday, March 17 F1 Extra 4 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Sunday, March 17 Race Re-Air 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network

More practice times for the entire season can be found here.

2013 FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (Subject to change, all times ET):

Date Grand Prix Time Re-Air (NBCSN) Network
Sun., March 17 Australia 1:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., March 24 Malaysia 3:30 a.m. 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., April 14 China 2:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., April 21 Bahrain 7:30 a.m. Noon NBC Sports Network
Sun., May 12 Spain 7:30 a.m. 2 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., May 26 Monaco 7:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. NBC
Sun., June 9 Canada 2 p.m. 7 p.m. NBC
Sun., June 30 United Kingdom 7:30 a.m. Noon CNBC
Sun., July 7 Germany 7:30 a.m. Noon CNBC
Sun., July 28 Hungary 7:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Aug. 25 Belgium 7:30 a.m. Midnight NBC Sports Network
Sun., Sept. 8 Italy 7:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Sept. 22 Singapore 7:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Oct. 6 Korea 1:30 a.m. 4 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Oct. 13 Japan 1:30 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Oct. 27 India 5:00 a.m. 1 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Nov. 3 Abu Dhabi 7:30 a.m. 6 p.m. NBC Sports Network
Sun., Nov. 17 USA (Austin) 1 p.m. 6 p.m. NBC
Sun., Nov. 24 Brazil 11 a.m. 4:30 p.m. NBC

Rosberg wary of engine power deficit in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 27:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 27, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Nico Rosberg is anticipating a tough weekend in Abu Dhabi due to a deficit in engine power caused by the high mileage on his current unit.

Rosberg and the Mercedes team have managed to avoid any engine-related grid penalties in 2015 by keeping within the limit of four power units per season.

By doing so, Mercedes has been forced into extending the milage of its engines, with a failure for Rosberg at the Italian Grand Prix in September having a knock-on effect at the end of the season.

Rosberg therefore arrives in Abu Dhabi with an engine down on power that makes him wary of his chances despite leading practice on Friday.

“It’s been a good start here in Abu Dhabi, but it will be a tough weekend for me as I have quite a high mileage engine in my car,” Rosberg said.

“After the Monza problem, we have had to stretch the engine life more than we had planned over the 19 races, so I definitely have a small lack of power on the straights and therefore need to make up extra time in the corners.

“It will be a big battle with Lewis here. He didn’t really bring together his quick laps, so it will be even closer tomorrow I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it and I definitely want to win this race and give the boys in the garage a reason to celebrate at the end of the season.”

On the other side of the Mercedes garage, world champion Lewis Hamilton was left unhappy with Mercedes’ long-run pace in practice, believing that there is ground to be made up.

“The long run pace doesn’t feel quite as strong so that’s something I need to work on,” Hamilton said. “I’ll probably make some more tweaks tonight and hopefully tomorrow it will be better.

“It’s very hard to overtake here, so of course it’s better to be up on pole. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to win from further back.”

Renault: Lotus announcement “very likely” next week

xxxx during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 27, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has said that the French manufacturer expects to make an announcement regarding its pending takeover of Lotus next week.

Renault has been engaged in negotiations with Lotus over a takeover of the team for many months, and signed a letter of intent back in September confirming its plans to revive a works F1 operation at Enstone.

Although a deal is still yet to be formally agreed and announced, Renault employees have already started working at Lotus to lay the foundations for 2016.

It was speculated that Renault may announce its takeover of Lotus during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, but Abiteboul confirmed on Friday that nothing would be made official at Yas Marina.

The Frenchman remained coy when asked what exactly Renault’s involvement in F1 would entail in 2016, saying: “I’m afraid I can’t answer to that question. I would like to be in a position to be able to answer to that questions, but I am not today.”

Despite there being no announcement in Abu Dhabi, Abiteboul said that he envisages one being made next week following the conclusion of the 2015 season.

“What I can say is that there will be no announcement regarding Renault’s future – short-term or middle-term future – over the weekend, but there will be an announcement, very likely, in the course of next week,” he said.

“We have always said that we would like to do that after the season. The season is ending on Sunday, around the start of December and that is what we will do stick to that plan, which is to make an announcement then.”

Abiteboul said that every effort was being made to finalize the deal with Lotus, but he is excited about the prospect of Renault returning to F1 with a works team for the first time since 2010.

“It’s fair to say that there is a process going on since the signing of the letter of interest on the 28th of September, there is a process involving a lot of people,” Abiteboul said.

“I think 50 people have been working night and day on the realisation of a possible acquisition of a majority stake in Lotus. It’s just a project, It’s been a proper rollercoaster, very exciting.”

Vettel, Raikkonen take on world’s fastest rollercoaster in Abu Dhabi (VIDEO)

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Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both live life at high-speed racing in Formula 1, but how would they get on when faced with the fastest rollercoaster in the world?

To celebrate the fifth birthday of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Vettel and Raikkonen took on the Formula Rossa rollercoaster alongside reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez and other members of the Ferrari team.

Raikkonen is known for being the ‘Iceman’ and showing little emotion, and this was true even at the fastest points of the rollercoaster ride as he kept a straight face while Vettel raised his arms and whooped with excitement.

Never change, Kimi…

Alonso: Tough year with McLaren “necessary”

xxxx during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 27, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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Fernando Alonso believes that his tough 2015 Formula 1 campaign with McLaren was a “necessary” stage within his racing career.

Alonso left Ferrari at the end of 2014 after five seasons with the Italian marque to rejoin McLaren ahead of its new partnership with Japanese manufacturer Honda.

McLaren-Honda enjoyed immense success in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but 2015 has proven to be a stark juxtaposition thanks to numerous problems with the power unit.

The issues have limited Alonso to just two top-ten finishes in 2015, yielding 11 points to leave him a lowly 17th in the drivers’ championships.

However, the Spaniard was upbeat when reflecting on the season in spite of McLaren’s troubles, believing it to be an important stepping stone.

“Well, tough year, obviously difficult and struggling with the pace all year and the reliability, so definitely a difficult season for us,” Alonso conceded.

“But personally I think it was necessary. It was a step forward in my career after the two championships, after five fantastic seasons fighting for the world championship but arriving second, so I needed some new motivation, some new project that I could trust and I could believe is the only way to become champion again.

“After one difficult season, as I said, I learn so much. I enjoy working with McLaren, with Honda, with all the Japanese discipline and Japanese culture into the team.

“I still remain very positive. I’m very, very happy and looking forward to next year being a little bit easier than this one that, as I said, has been difficult in terms of results.”

Looking ahead to 2016, Alonso expects McLaren to make progress and move up the grid, but is unsure whether it will make enough of a leap forward to challenge for race wins once again.

“At the moment there’s a question mark, I guess, where McLaren-Honda can be next year,” Alonso said.

“There are a lot of expectations in the team. I think we worked really all season, being united in some difficult moments and always moving forward, so I think for 2016 the main goal for the team is to come back to where we belong, we think, and being competitive, fighting for the top positions.

“I don’t know if that means fighting for the championship, I don’t know if that means fighting for victories of just being on the podium sometimes, that’s always difficult to know in a very complex sport like Formula One.

“There are definitely some big challenges ahead in this winter and I see all the things that the team has done in the last couple of months and these seem very logical, very positive and I’m confident that it’s going to be a completely different season next year and I’m happy with the progress.”