After a long wait that’s been punctuated by multiple delays, the IZOD IndyCar Series will see the debut of aero kits in a limited role next season.
Marshall Pruett and NBC Sports Network’s Robin Miller are reporting on SPEED.com that the new aero kits, which will be fashioned by Wirth Research and Honda Performance Development for Honda and Pratt & Miller and GM Racing for Chevrolet, will only appear in the Triple Crown events in 2014: The Indianapolis 500, the Pocono 400, and MAV TV 500 at Fontana. Every other track on the IndyCar circuit will see the regular Dallara DW12 chassis.
According to Pruett and Miller, it is believed that the Honda camp wanted a limited schedule while Chevrolet wanted to use the kits everywhere; in addition, a meeting on the matter last week in Indianapolis that was to involve both manufacturers did not see representatives from GM attend.
Naturally, there are mixed reactions to the decision to use the kits at just three events, with HPD’s Roger Griffiths saying that “it’s the right step” and Chevy-powered Panther Racing team owner John Barnes admitting to being “befuddled” by the call.
The IndyCar aero kit saga has been a drawn-out affair — almost annoyingly so, at times.
As the debut of the Dallara DW12 approached in 2012, fan interest was high on seeing kits to help create different looks on the spec chassis. However, with the entire paddock experiencing the effects of the new car coming in over-budget, the team owners opted for a one-year delay on the plan in 2011. Then early in 2012, the owners chose to delay the kits once again with cost containment still a priority and the emergence of a strong racing product without the kits also coming into play.
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.