IndyCar prepares for long haul to Brazil

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The IZOD IndyCar Series’ annual trip to Brazil is always an adventure, and it all starts with the packing.

About 400,000 total pounds of cargo will be carried by two 747-400F planes to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the series will stage the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle next weekend. In addition, Firestone Firehawk tires, fuel and Dallara parts and equipment are being shipped over via ocean cargo vessel. When everything arrives in Sao Paulo, it’ll all be transported to the Anhembi Park complex that houses the 2.5-mile, 11-turn street circuit.

Each entrant is limited to 9,000 total pounds, and today at Indianapolis International Airport, the loading for the 5,000+ mile trip to South America began (the flight itself is slated for Sunday). After numerous trips overseas in recent years, the IndyCar teams are pros when it comes to having everything together.

“It’s a major undertaking to get everything packed,” Andretti Autosport team manager Ziggy Harcus told IndyCar.com. “And the paperwork side is another undertaking. Then you have the consumables — you have to make sure you take enough that you need but not waste it. We’re organized; we’ve done it quite a few times with Brazil and Japan.”

Amongst the cargo that’s shipped over via plane are the cars themselves, which are stacked up in twos on specially-made racks.

You can catch the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on Sunday, May 5 at 11 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network, or online and on your mobile device with NBC Sports Live Extra.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.