AJ Allmendinger hasn’t hit the “crunch time” part of the weekend in his open-wheel racing return, but two top-10 efforts in the two practice sessions, three tenths within teammate and Friday pace setter Helio Castroneves and both times within one tenth of Will Power, was nothing to scoff at.
The Los Gatos, Calif. native’s first weekend laps in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet came on a green track, with rain having fallen Thursday and a different set of rubber down from GRAND-AM’s Continental Tires.
“I felt like the first session was real slick compared to during the test, with the GRAND-AM cars here and the Continental cars here, and obviously with the rain and no rubber really being down on the race track,” he said. “For me, it’s just a process. Just trying to learn how these weekends go and try to keep up with the race track as it changes.”
Allmendinger tempered his happiness because he knows tomorrow will see even faster times.
“So far it felt like the first day was good, I think we were ninth and eighth, so there’s still a lot of to beat. The cars are going to be fast, that’s the good thing about the Penske organization and especially around this place,” he said.
Going into qualifying, hitting a “magic lap” will be key – a solid effort would probably be advancing out of Q1 into the top 12 on the grid.
“I know the car is going to be fast and the setup is going to be very close and it’s just going to be me going out there and figuring it out, what I need in a race car, how I get the speed out of it,” he said. “I still left a lot out there on that lap that I did, so I think tomorrow the biggest and toughest thing for me is that qualifying lap. Going out there for the first time and not having any practice and you just gotta go get that lap.”
MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.
Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”
No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.
Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”
The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.
Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.
The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.
“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.
“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.
Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:
- a guarantee of supply to teams
- the need to reduce the engines’ cost
- simplification of the specification
- “improved noise”
Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.
As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.
Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.
The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.
This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.
The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.
Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.