With the “Multi 21” controversy in Malaysia in the background, Red Bull Racing heads for a track where it has a happier history this weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Some four years ago, well before any animosity between its teammates had bubbled to the surface, Sebastian Vettel led home Mark Webber for the Red Bull team’s first ever victory and, by default, its first 1-2 finish.
The win in the water-logged Chinese race was Vettel’s second of his career, after his first came with Scuderia Toro Rosso in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
“My favorite memory of the Chinese Grand Prix is my first win with Red Bull Racing in 2009,” Vettel said in the team’s Chinese weekend advance. “We had a good qualifying, followed by an amazing race. There was a lot of rain, but we held it together and got our first team win and 1-2.”
On the losing end of that go-around, Webber admitted that first instance of finishing second to his three-time World Champion teammate is not his favorite memory at China. Instead, he chose his run in 2011.
Webber put in a barnstorming effort to come from 18th to third, behind Vettel in second and race winner Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton had made a great move on Vettel in the middle sector of the track to take the win.
Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.