Young Drivers’ Test gets underway at Silverstone

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The Young Drivers’ Test has begun at a warm and sunny Silverstone. Over the course of the next three days 31 different drivers will be in action.

Ten teams are participating in the test after Mercedes were banned from participating by the FIA International Tribunal.

Red Bull and Lotus originally planned to run Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen respectively during the test but decided not to after an FIA clarification informed them of limits on the running race drivers could do.

Here’s who will be appearing at the test for each of the teams plus notes on each of the young drivers:

Red Bull

Antonio Felix da Costa – Starred in Formula Renault 3.5 last year
Carlos Sainz Jnr – Son of the two-time World Rally Champion
Daniel Ricciardo
Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

Davide Rigon – GT driver whose single-seater career was interrupted by a broken leg in 2011
Felipe Massa

McLaren

Kevin Magnussen – Son of ex-F1 driver Jan Magnussen, impressing in Formula Renault 3.5
Oliver Turvey – McLaren test driver
Gary Paffett – McLaren test driver

Lotus

Nicolas Prost – Son of four-times F1 champion Alain Prost, last major single-seater race was five years ago
Davide Valsecchi – Reigning GP2 champion

Sauber

Robin Frijns – Reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion
Kimiya Sato – Third in German F3 last year, not related to the IndyCar driver
Nico Hulkenberg

Force India

James Calado – Fifth in GP2 last year and top rookie
Adrian Sutil
Paul di Resta

Williams

Daniel Juncadella – Reigning European F3 champion, now drives for Mercedes in the DTM
Susie Wolff – Williams test driver last raced a single-seater in 2005
Pastor Maldonado

Toro Rosso

Johnny Cecotto Jnr – Son of ex-F1 and motorbike racer
Daniil Kvyat – Reigning Formula Renault 2.0 Alps champion currently racing in GP3 and F3
Carlos Sainz Jnr
Daniel Ricciardo
Jean-Eric Vergne

Caterham

Alexander Rossi – American driver currently racing in GP2
Will Stevens – Caterham’s newest recruit is fourth in Formula Renault 3.5
Charles Pic
Giedo van der Garde

Marussia

Tio Ellinas – Currently leading GP3
Rodolfo Gonzalez – Raced in GP2 until last year, scoring few points
Max Chilton
Jules Bianchi

INDYCAR announces several rules and protocol changes for 2018 season

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The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series opener is still more than six weeks away (March 11, St. Petersburg, Florida).

But several rules and protocol changes that will impact much of the 17-race season were announced today by INDYCAR officials.

First is related to Indianapolis 500 qualifying on May 19-20, one week prior to the 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing:

* Driver and entrant points will be awarded to the top nine qualifiers for the race. The pole winner earns nine points and the second-fastest qualifier eight points, with awarded points decreasing by one point for each position down to one point earned by the ninth-fastest qualifier.

* Race points for the Indianapolis 500 and the 2018 season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 16, will still pay double the normal points for driver and entrant.

There are several other changes on tap for the season, as well.

Here’s a quick rundown of those changes (information courtesy of INDYCAR):

  • The qualifying order for all oval track events except the Indianapolis 500 will be determined by entrant points entering the event. The qualifying order will run in reverse order of entrant points, with the highest in entrant points qualifying last. A car without entrant points will be placed at the front of the qualifying line. If more than one car has no entrant points entering an event, a blind draw among those cars will determine their qualifying order at the front of the line. The qualifying order for the Indianapolis 500 will still be determined by a blind draw.
  • Times have been set for the series-wide open test at ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix Raceway), scheduled for Feb. 9-10. The track will be open to all cars from 3-6 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. ET both days. INDYCAR has also added four hours of track time on Feb. 8 (3-7 p.m. ET) for rookie drivers to complete their oval test assessments.
  • The series-wide open test at Portland International Raceway will be held Aug. 30, a day prior to the beginning of the Grand Prix of Portland race weekend. Indy car racing returns to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in 11 years in 2018.
  • A schedule change for the month of May will see the INDYCAR garages closed on May 13 – the day after the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – to allow teams time off for Mother’s Day. The track will not be open to the public on this day. The garages will be open on May 14, but there will be no on-track activity.
  • Practice for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 begins Tuesday, May 15 on the IMS oval, with the first two hours open for rookie orientation and veteran refreshers, then to all cars. Practice continues May 16-18, ahead of qualifications weekend May 19-20.
  • INDYCAR is granting teams that did not participate in fall manufacturer testing with the universal aero kit an additional half day of private testing. The testing is limited to one car per team and must take place in conjunction with the team’s first on-track test of 2018. Each team is permitted five hours of track time and two sets of Firestone tires.
  • Working with Firestone, INDYCAR has increased the tire allotment at five events. The race weekends at ISM Raceway (Phoenix), the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Texas Motor Speedway, the streets of Toronto and Iowa Speedway will see teams receive an additional set of tires. In a related change, drivers outside the top 10 in the point standings will no longer have an extra set of tires available to them for the opening practice session of a race weekend.
  • The minimum car weight for 2018 has been increased by 10 pounds – to 1,620 pounds for road and street courses and short ovals, 1,590 pounds for superspeedways (both do not include fuel, drink bottle and its contents, driver and driver equivalency weight) – to accommodate for new parts and additional on-car cameras related to the universal aero kit all competitors will run in 2018.