Raikkonen hoping for better luck in Shanghai

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Kimi Raikkonen says he’s hoping things will go his way in Shanghai this weekend after failing to score in China last year.

It was the only race all season in which the 2007 champion failed to place in the top ten and bring home points.

“There was some good racing and it looked like a strong result could have been possible, but we ran out of rubber during the final stint and didn’t score any points,” said Raikkonen.

“Hopefully we’ll be a little bit more lucky with the tire performance this time and well prepared from a strategy point of view. We had the race pace in 2012, that’s true, but we tried to carry on with our tires for too long. They dropped off, and that was it.

“On the other hand without trying to push with those tactics, we would never have been fighting for top positions. If you look at last year we didn’t have a bad car for China, and if we get the car working as well as we did on Friday at Sepang, we should do well in Shanghai too.”

Raikkonen won the opening round of the season in Australia but struggled to seventh in Malaysia. He picked up front wing damage on the first lap and spent much of the middle part of the race stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber.

Raikkonen criticized his rival’s driving on the team radio during the race, saying: “Did you see what he’s been doing? He pushes me off and now he hits me.”

The Lotus driver played down the incident afterwards, saying: “It was racing and that’s what we’re all here for. There were a few times where it got pretty close. There are things you should and shouldn’t do but this is racing and at the end of the day I don’t think it changed our result too much.”

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.