Horner: Plenty of driver options for 2014

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Christian Horner has said that Red Bull are in no rush to confirm who will be partnering Sebastian Vettel at the team next season, believing that they have “no shortage of choice” when it comes to finding a driver.

After the multi 21 fiasco unravelled at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Webber appears to be on his way out of the team. His destination, be it another Formula One team or a different racing series altogether, is unknown, but Horner’s comments suggest that the team is not yet ready to consider candidates his seat.

“It is much too early thinking about drivers for next year,” Horner explained to the official Formula One website. “Sebastian is clear – and everything else will fall into place towards the end of the summer. There is no pre-conception.”

Horner has also said that Sebastian Vettel will not have a great influence on who his teammate will be, despite the inter-team rivalry causing this chain of events.

“He is going to do the best job for himself. And to say, ‘this one, yes’ and, ‘this one, no’ was never Sebastian’s style, to dictate, ‘I must have this or that’. He is a sporting guy and has never pressured the team into doing things for his own benefit.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso entered the sport in 2006 as a feeder team to Red Bull, but Vettel is the only driver to have made the jump between the teams. With Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo both impressing lately, many believe that one of them could join Vettel, but Horner will only be looking for the best driver available, regardless of what team they drive for.

“Our objectives are very simple: we want the best two drivers in our cars. If they come from Toro Rosso, fantastic as they develop nicely. But we always push to have the best two drivers available.

“There is no shortage of choice.”

The race for the second seat at Red Bull certainly appears to be hotting up. Nico Hulkenberg, who many believed was the natural choice, has endured a poor start to the season, whilst the departure of James Allison from Lotus has sparked rumors that Kimi Raikkonen could make the move. Going by Horner’s comments though, we will not know the identity of Sebastian Vettel’s teammate until the summer at the very earliest.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.