Thumbs-up for Russia’s grand prix track

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FIA race director and safety delegate Charlie Whiting has praised the plans for the circuit which will hold Russia’s first Formula One race next year.

Whiting was quoted by AutoWeek as telling local media: “I’m really impressed by the configuration of this track,” after conducting an inspection of the facility.

“The scale of the whole project is truly impressive,” he added.

The track in Sochi, on the Black Sea, will be completed after the region hosts next year’s Winter Olympics in February. The race on roads around the Olympic facility is expected to take place near the end of next year’s F1 season.

Sebastian Vettel visited the proposed 3.7-mile course in April as part of a publicity event for sponsor Infiniti. He said it looked “very interesting and challenging” with “some fast corners and hopefully plenty of places to overtake”.

The chances of Russia having a home driver on the grid for its first race have risen recently as Sauber is considering promoting Sergey Sirotkin to its race team.

The calendar for 2014 is looking increasingly congested following yesterday’s news the Austrian Grand Prix is set to return and with a second race in the USA planned in New Jersey.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)