Houston returns to an IndyCar calendar for the third time this weekend, after prior runs downtown from 1998 through 2001, and the revived course configuration at Reliant Park outside the home stadium of the Houston Texans having had two races in 2006 and 2007. You can see the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston twinbill Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, on NBCSN.
Here’s a rundown of current IndyCar drivers and team owners, and their past results on either course. Oriol Servia is the only driver who will have had race experience on both courses heading into this weekend.
RELIANT PARK STREET COURSE, 2006-2007
Eight of the 24 drivers in the IndyCar races this weekend have past experience at Reliant Park. Sebastien Bourdais won both races, Graham Rahal scored his first open-wheel podium, and James Hinchcliffe and Simona de Silvestro cut their teeth in Atlantics but have yet to race in Houston in the main event.
- 2007: Sebastien Bourdais (Started 1st, Finished 1st), Graham Rahal (6/2), Oriol Servia (5/4), Simon Pagenaud (7/5), Justin Wilson (3/10), Will Power (2/11)
- 2006: Bourdais (5/1), Wilson (7/5), Power (10/7), Servia (8/12)
- 2007: James Hinchcliffe (2/3), Simona de Silvestro (13/15)
- 2006: Pagenaud (4/2), Hinchcliffe (5/4), Rahal (3/15)
HOUSTON DOWNTOWN COURSE, 1998-2001
Five current drivers – Servia, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan – raced on Houston’s downtown course over four years. Three owners – Jimmy Vasser, Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta – have driving experience there as well. Franchitti has a win and three podiums here with Vasser also scoring a win and Kanaan securing his second career podium as a rookie in 1998.
- 01: Dario Franchitti (Started 6/Finished 2), Helio Castroneves (4/5), Jimmy Vasser (24/11), Tony Kanaan (10/12), Bryan Herta (22/13), Scott Dixon (7/18), Michael Andretti (12/21), Oriol Servia (17/26)
- 00: Vasser (3/1), Castroneves (4/5), Servia (15/9), Kanaan (10/10), Andretti (5/13), Franchitti (2/25)
- 99: Franchitti (4/2), Andretti (11/3), Herta (2/5), Kanaan (8/9), Vasser (16/20), Castroneves (19/26)
- 98: Franchitti (2/1), Kanaan (11/3), Vasser (3/4), Herta (6/8), Castroneves (17/24), Andretti (13/28)
A single Indy Lights race was also held at Houston in 2000, won by Casey Mears. NBC Sports Network analyst Townsend Bell finished second in that race to his Dorricott Racing teammate; Dixon finished 15th, a rare off day in his championship-winning season driving for Bruce McCaw’s PacWest Racing.
MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.
Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”
No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.
Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”
The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.
Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.
The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.
“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.
“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.
Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:
- a guarantee of supply to teams
- the need to reduce the engines’ cost
- simplification of the specification
- “improved noise”
Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.
As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.
Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.
The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.
This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.
The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.
Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.