Penalties pepper Long Beach qualifying (VIDEO)

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You wouldn’t expect to find Marco Andretti, Justin Wilson, Scott Dixon and Oriol Servia in the last four positions on the starting grid. But immediately after qualifying concluded for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, that was the case.

Dixon spun in Turn 1 and left Servia nowhere to go (above). The Panther DRR team appealed Servia’s penalty, and the penalty was rescinded. The Catalan was reinstated in 18th place on the 27-car grid, although that meant Dixon (below) would be relegated to the back of the field.

IndyCar explained the penalties issued to Andretti and Dixon in a news bulletin issued Saturday.

“If a Car interferes with qualifications as determined by the Race Director:

If the violation occurs during Segment One or Segment Two, the Car’s best two timed laps during the segment shall be disallowed, the Car shall not advance to the next segment (8.3.7).”

As for Dixon: “If a Car causes a Red Condition in any segment or otherwise interferes with qualifications as determined by the Race Director, the Car’s best two timed laps of the segment shall be disallowed (8.3.5).”

Andretti was mainly diplomatic in his taking the penalty in an interview with IMS Radio.

“Our car was way better than that,” he admitted. “There were four cars that held me up, too. But it’s what you expect on a 1.9 mile track. I’m definitely frustrated. They shortened the race so strategy’s off. We’re going to have to push like hell.”

Wilson’s team had not properly affixed stickers to the rear wing, and was unable to complete a timed lap.

“It seems like we have to have a sticker on the rear wing, so we had to put it on during qualifying,” he told IMS Radio. “We got the checkered on out lap. It’s unfortunate. We’ll need to see what we can do in the race. I’m not sure what’s meant to go on or why the breakdown in communication.”

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Williams to wait until new year before making 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams will wait until the new year before making an announcement regarding its Formula 1 driver line-up for the 2018 season.

Williams holds the final vacant seat in F1 for next year, with Felipe Massa retiring at the last race of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

The Brazilian’s departure has opened up a seat alongside Lance Stroll for 2018, which looked poised to be taken by Robert Kubica, over seven years after he last raced in F1 before injuries sustained in a rally accident appeared to cut his career short.

Doubts emerged about Kubica’s comeback following a test with Williams in its 2017-spec car in Abu Dhabi after the final race of the season, leading to Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin becoming the favorite.

Besides Kubica and Sirotkin, ditched Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also an option, but Williams has now confirmed it will make no decision on its line-up until the new year.

Sirotkin first entered the frame in F1 in 2013 when he became a development driver at Sauber, with Russian backers SMP Racing pushing to get him a race seat for the following year.

Sirotkin missed out on a full-time role at the team, leading him to focus on racing in Formula Renault 3.5 for 2014 before spending two years in GP2, where he finished third in the standings in both seasons.

Renault struck an agreement to sign Sirotkin in a junior role in 2016, leading to a number of practice run-outs over the last two seasons, but he was passed over for a 2018 race seat when it signed Carlos Sainz Jr.

Williams emerged as an option for Sirotkin following a successful maiden test with the team in Abu Dhabi alongside Kubica, with talks now set to continue over the holiday period.

Sirotkin has not taken on a full-time race program this year, making just a single competitive appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class.

Sirotkin has also been involved in the development of the team’s BR Engineering-designed LMP1 car for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship season, and is likely to secure a seat should he miss out on the role at Williams.