Preparation, de Silvestro addition pushes KV forward

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OK, it would be foolish to draw conclusions based solely on one race. But for KV Racing Technology – SH, signs are evident the team could revert back to overachieving rather than underachieving in 2013. Tony Kanaan and new teammate Simona de Silvestro opened the year fourth and sixth in St. Petersburg.

Kanaan’s third season with the Chevrolet-powered team sees his third set of teammates. He joined late ahead of 2011 and teammates Takuma Sato and EJ Viso rarely pushed him on pace, while Viso and Rubens Barrichello joined in the eleventh hour before last year.

Now, with Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro’s contracts locked in before the end of 2012, the additional time together has aided the team’s progress.

“The secret is preparation,” Kanaan said in a conference call Wednesday. “We didn’t have a lot of preparation last year. Rubens and EJ signed in late March, right before the championship. We had to hire people; we already started behind. Now, the continuity is already there. We didn’t struggle with development, or in the wind tunnel; we are just more organized.”

Additionally, the youthful and motivated de Silvestro is providing Kanaan a fresh challenge.

“Rubens coming in would push me, but our relationship was that we were ‘brothers’ forever,” Kanaan said. “Simona brought sparks and lightning into the team. I have no problem teaching her, but I like to see her want to do well; it’s her opportunity.”

De Silvestro starred in the St. Pete opener and would have scored her first career podium before her tires evaporated in the dying stages. She admitted setup, more than the gap between Firestone’s primary black or red alternate tires, makes the difference to her car’s handling.

“I think it’s more about setup,” she said. “I never struggled on the tires because I never had the power! Now it is how the car is setup, and how it eats the tires. The gap was extreme last year. I don’t know what they’ll bring to Barber yet. It might be the same as last year.”

After a week off, the IndyCar series heads to Barber on April 7 (3 p.m. EST, NBC Sports Network).

Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”