F1 ‘not about fastest car and driver anymore’

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Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull and owner of two Formula One teams, is concerned about the direction the sport is heading in.

“Formula One no longer has anything to do with ‘classic’ racing,” warned Mateschitz. “Today, it’s not the fastest driver in the fastest car who wins, but the one with the optimum tire management.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has repeatedly criticized the softer tire compounds being used this year, claiming they disadvantage his team.

Mateschitz reiterated that point in his recent quotes: “We’ve even had to scale down our car, because the tires were not lasting. If we really went as fast as we can, we would need 10 to 15 pit stops.”

Red Bull’s perceived disadvantage has not prevented them from enjoying a successful start to the season.

The team scored a one-two in Malaysia and Sebastian Vettel took a second win in Bahrain. He’s been on pole position twice, on the podium three times and is leading the drivers’ championship. Red Bull also enjoy a 16-point lead over closest rivals Lotus in the constructors’ championship.

However McLaren’s Sam Michael believes the tires have turned F1 into “a thinking man’s game”.

“If you look at China, the top five places were filled by five world champions – and that is not an accident,” said Michael.

UPDATED: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama under red-flag race stoppage due to rain

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UPDATE: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.