Sebastian Vettel may be on the verge of sealing his fourth world championship, but the Red Bull driver is still keen on winning next weekend’s Indian Grand Prix to extend his perfect record at the circuit.
Since the inaugural race in 2011, Vettel has won both races and led every single lap of the grands prix at the Buddh International Circuit. Although he may only have to finish fifth next Sunday to clinch his fourth title, extending this record is certainly on his mind.
“So far everything has always gone perfectly for us in India,” Vettel said. “There is also a very nice trophy at the end of the race – so it would be great to hold one again this year! It’s a circuit that I like in a country that is very, very impressive every time we go there.”
However, he also explained in Red Bull’s grand prix preview that he finds the circuit particularly challenging despite his perfect record.
“It is not an easy track, because of a few complicated rhythm-breakers that are in there,” he explained. “The most difficult part is the uphill entry to turn three, because seeing the apex is practically impossible. So to drive a perfect lap around the Buddh circuit, you need a good driving instinct.”
The Indian Grand Prix will not feature on the 2014 calendar with race organizers wishing to switch to an earlier slot in 2015, but it appears that the lack of government support could make this year’s running of the race the last.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.