Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel

McLaren: ECU not to blame for Webber’s poor start


McLaren have hit back at Christian Horner’s claim their Electronic Control Unit was to blame for Mark Webber’s poor start in the Australian Grand Prix.

Webber dropped five places as he struggled to get off the line in yesterday’s race.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner blamed a fault on the Electronic Control Unit for the problem. The ECU is a standard part used by all the teams and manufactured by McLaren Electronic Systems.

“Mark’s problems were hugely frustrating because it was an ECU issue, said Horner after the race. “You need to ask McLaren why the ECU didn’t work and why it messed up his preparation because he was blind and had no telemetry.”

“It is something they need to get on top of because it caused a lot of issues during testing.”

However MES managing director Peter van Manen denied the fault originated with the ECU:

“There was an issue with Mark Webber’s data system in the garage during the formation lap. The ECU on the car was fine,” he said.

“We regret any disruption caused to Mark’s preparations for the start of the race and will continue to work with the team to prevent any recurrence.”

Webber’s slow getaway dropped him from second to seventh immediately, and he was only able to recover to sixth by the end of the race. Watch his start from onboard the car in this video:

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Johnny Cecotto Jr’s retirement lasts just three weeks

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Friday 4 September 2015.
Johnny Cecotto (VEN, Trident) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _SBL1208
© GP2 Series
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Three weeks after announcing his retirement from motorsport, Johnny Cecotto Jr. will return to racing this weekend at the GP2 round in Sochi, Russia.

Cecotto said on Twitter that “today my career ends” on September 17, announcing that he had lost his backing provided by the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

However, the GP2 veteran will return to racing this weekend with Trident, having last raced for the Italian team at Monza one month ago. He will partner Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello once again.

Cecotto’s return is just one of a number of driver/team stories heading into the GP2 race weekend at Sochi:

  • American driver Alexander Rossi returns to GP2 with Racing Engineering this weekend following his two-race stint in F1 with Manor. He will also take part in grands prix in the USA, Mexico and Brazil before returning to GP2 once again in Abu Dhabi.
  • Julian Leal has announced his retirement from GP2, and is replaced by debutant Dean Stoneman at Carlin. Stoneman won at Sochi in GP3 last year en route to second place in the championship.S
  • Sean Gelael will race for Carlin once again, having missed the round at Monza due to a Formula Renault 3.5 clash.
  • Nicholas Latifi returns to GP2 this weekend with MP Motorsport, racing alongside Rene Binder.
  • Nathanael Berthon also returns, racing for Team Lazarus.
  • Hilmer Motorsport will miss the round in Sochi altogether, reducing the grid down to 24 cars.

Formula E adds Hong Kong race for October 2016

Photo: FIA Formula E
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The FIA Formula E Championship will add Hong Kong to its calendar for its third season, 2016-2017.

The race will take place on October 9, 2016 – exactly one year from now – around the city’s Central district. The 2km circuit will run between Lung Wo Road and the Star Ferry, with cars reaching speeds of up to 225kph (140mph).

The launch event today featured the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable CY Leung; Mr. Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; Mr. Alejandro Agag, CEO, Formula E Holdings; Mr. Lawrence Yu Kam-Kee, President of the Hong Kong Automobile Association; and reigining FE champion Nelson Piquet Jr.

“The Hong Kong ePrix will be one of the highlights on the FIA Formula E Championship calendar,” Agag said in a release. “As one of the most innovative, cutting-edge and fun-loving cities in the world, Hong Kong and Formula E share many of the same qualities. We look forward to bringing all the fun and entertainment of Formula E to this amazing city, and international motorsport back to Hong Kong.”

The track map is linked below.

Hong Kong track map