The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to its usual season-opening stop this weekend for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a 110-lap event on a 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit that features an airport runway for a front-stretch and a dog-leg backstretch along the Tampa Bay waterfront.
Those two areas set up the circuit’s main passing zones. The wide runway of Albert Whitted Airport leads into Turn 1, a right-hander that has provided plenty of mayhem over the years. It’s also where Helio Castroneves pulled off what would prove to be the winning pass last year at St. Petersburg on Scott Dixon.
As for the backstretch (Bayshore Boulevard), it leads into a sharp left-hander at Turn 10/Dan Wheldon Way that forces drivers to really hit their marks, especially when they’re in the middle of outbraking rivals. After barreling down Bayshore, the drivers’ maneuvering for position in this tricky corner makes for great action, both on television and for those sitting in the nearby grandstand.
Another interesting wrinkle for 2013 is the addition of 10 extra laps at St. Pete, which is one of four IndyCar tracks (the others being Long Beach, Milwaukee and Mid-Ohio) that had their race distances extended by the series in an attempt to cut down on fuel-mileage racing.
You can learn more details about the St. Pete street circuit in the “virtual lap” video above.
After being handed a 10-second stop/go penalty during the race, Kvyat was also given three points on his FIA super licence, taking his tally up to five for the 12-month period.
Gutierrez was also penalized for an incident on the first lap after he took out Nico Hulkenberg and sparked a multi-car melee at Turn 2. He too received a time penalty during the race, but was handed two penalty points afterwards by the stewards.
Finally, Sainz was found to have forced Jolyon Palmer off track between Turns 2 and 3 during the race. He had 10 seconds added to his race time and also received two penalty points.
Nico Rosberg saw his Formula 1 championship lead swell to 43 points on Sunday after winning the Russian Grand Prix, marking his seventh straight victory.
The German has not lost since the Mexican Grand Prix back in November, and will head to the start of the European season in Spain later this month full of confidence.
It proved to be a race full of intriguing storylines as Lewis Hamilton fought back from 10th on the grid to finish second, Romain Grosjean took Haas back into the points and everyone got angry with Daniil Kvyat for causing mayhem at Turn 2.
Following the race on Sunday, NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton brings you all of the latest news, interviews and insight in Paddock Pass.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting confirmed that it would be tested during practice in Spain and Monaco, with a deadline of July 1 set for any possible usage in the 2017 season.
“Red Bull are going to run it again in free practice in Spain and Monaco,” Whiting said.
“This time we hope they will have sourced, and they are optimistic they can, some anti-glare coating for the inside.
“We understand it can be quite difficult where you have tall buildings, trees, low sun, and those sorts of effects that you will probably get in Monaco and Monza, where there are natural features.
“And there will also be a coating for the outside that will repel rain and prevent things sticking to it.
“The deadline that we mentioned last week was July 1. It would be unreasonable if we didn’t have a clear path by that time.
“Their chassis design is normally fixed by this time. It’s only a small part of the chassis and it’s not going to affect things like fuel volume and those big things, but it’s still part of a complex design.”