McLaren drivers support postponing decision

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It’s been a difficult weekend in Melbourne for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes thus far. Still, both drivers voiced their support of the decision to postpone qualifying from Saturday to Sunday.

“A stop-start session like today’s is tough for everyone,” said Jenson Button, who scored his third Australian Grand Prix victory in four years to open the 2012 season. “For us drivers, it means we have to build ourselves up for the challenge of qualifying again and again – a bit like asking Usain Bolt to get ready for five 100-meter sprints one after the other and aborting four of them.

“That level of disruption creates quite a lot of mental and psychological stress for any athlete – but it was even worse for the fans, who’d been waiting excitedly for qualifying all day long and who then had to sit in the pouring rain with no on-track action to entertain them,” he added. “So I’m very sorry for them, because the fans are what all sport is ultimately all about, but I hope we can make it up to them tomorrow by putting on a really exciting race. Even so, I believe the FIA had no choice. It was the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3 until tomorrow, for safety reasons.”

Sergio Perez, who had an off-course excursion during his session, decided to praise the team in advance given the tight turnaround.

“We’ll have to follow a really tight schedule tomorrow – including a very short turn-around between qualifying and race – and that’ll be tough for everyone, especially the guys in the garage. Boys, I appreciate all your hard work in advance, okay?!” he said. “Even so, I think the FIA stewards made the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3. The conditions were becoming too dangerous – in terms of low visibility as well as low grip.”

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”