Vettel and Red Bull continue to dominate practice in India

1 Comment

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have continued to dominate practice for the Indian Grand Prix by recording their second one-two finish in as many sessions on Friday with the German driver leading the way once again.

Vettel bounced back from a KERS failure at the beginning of the session to record a fastest time of 1:25.722 which was good enough to see him finish P1 ahead of teammate Mark Webber by just under three-tenths of a second.

Once again, the challenge was left with Lotus and Mercedes to try and stop the defending world champions from heading the field, but Romain Grosjean’s best effort was only good enough to give him third place ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso returned to proceedings after a gearbox problem in FP1, finishing fifth ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, current teammate Felipe Massa and future teammate Kimi Raikkonen. However, the Finn struggled for pace throughout the session, spinning his car early on before complaining about the state of his tires towards the end of FP2. McLaren got both cars into the top ten once again with Sergio Perez finishing ninth ahead of Jenson Button.

The session proved to be a difficult one for Williams as Pastor Maldonado lost a wheel nut heading into the final sector, forcing him to pull over at pit entry and abandon his car. After the team was fined at Suzuka for failing to secure its tires properly, this will certainly be a cause of concern for the FIA who will look into the matter.

At the front though, it seems increasingly likely that Red Bull will be celebrating a third consecutive victory at the Buddh International Circuit this weekend, but Mark Webber’s pace suggests that he could pose a serious challenge to his teammate on Sunday.

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

SMP Racing
Leave a comment

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.