Visor tear-off ended Raikkonen’s record runs

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Kimi Raikkonen’s record run of points finishes was ended by a tear-off strip from a rival’s visor, his team have confirmed.

Raikkonen began complaining of brake problems shortly after the start of the race and was told on the radio to beware of high temperatures. During his first pit stop the team discovered a visor tear-off was obstructing the airflow to his left-front brake duct.

The strip was removed during his pit stop but the damage was already done: Raikkonen’s brake had begun to overheat and on lap 25 he went straight on at the chicane. Although he was avoided hitting anything he was only able to make it as far as the pits where he retired.

Raikkonen had finished the last 38 races in a row – thirty for Lotus and eight for Ferrari in the second half of 2009, before he took a two-year break from F1. This was a record-breaking streak, as was his run of scoring points in 27 consecutive races.

Team principal Eric Boullier told Autosport it is unlikely the failure was caused by the design of the duct, even though the team had chosen the most aggressive of its two options: “If the failure had happened on both discs then you would think that the cooling was wrong, but it was only on one disc.”

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.