Sirotkin sees no problem with F1 debut in 2014

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Sergey Sirotkin, who is tipped to drive for Sauber in 2014 following the team’s deal with Russian investors, believe he will be ready to make his F1 debut despite a comparative lack of experience.

“At the moment maybe I am a little bit too young but that doesn’t mean I cannot be ready,” the 17-year-old told Autosport.

“I have more than half a year to learn, I am doing a good preparation programme, and I can be ready.”

Sirotkin began racing single-seaters in 2010, contesting the Formula Abarth series in Italy. He moved up to the European championship the following year and claimed the title.

After taking third in the Auto GP World Series last year he is now racing in Formula Renault 3.5, part of the World Series by Renault. He is ninth in the championship after 11 races and second-highest among the rookies.

Sirotkin said he was keen not to pass up the opportunity to become a Formula One driver: “OK, maybe spending one more year in World Series, I could be more ready, but after one more year maybe there is no chance for me to be a Formula 1 driver,” he said.

“I don’t think that someone in my place could say ‘No, I want to stay in World Series’.”

Sirotkin, who turns 18 next month, would be the youngest F1 driver ever to start a grand prix if he were to show up on the grid next March. The record is currently held by Jaime Alguersuari, who was 19 years and 125 days old when he started the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.