India F1 GP Auto Racing

MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Indian GP

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Ahead of the race today in India, the writing team on MotorSportsTalk has made its predictions for what looks set to be the scene of Sebastian Vettel’s coronation as a four time world champion. Should he finish fifth or higher and secure the title, Vettel will join some prestigious company: only Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher have won four world titles. It may be the final Indian Grand Prix until 2015, but the race is poised to cement itself a place in history today.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Let’s see… chance for six straight wins, fourth title and a shot to three-peat leading every lap from pole in India. Again it’s a case of pick him until he gets dethroned.

Surprising finish: Jenson Button. A podium and another top-five on his Indian scorecard thus far. “Surprise” in this instance would be a top-five but I feel it’s possible for him this weekend.

Most to prove: Paul di Resta. He’s gone scoreless seven races in a row with a car that has clearly fallen off the second half of the year. F1 career in jeopardy and at his team’s home race, time to stave off the naysayers and put together a memorable weekend.

Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. A third (final?) victory in India will have Vettel claim his fourth consecutive World Championship with a flourish. Love him or hate him, you better darn well respect him.

Surprising finish: Esteban Gutierrez. Suzuka had to be a confidence booster for Gutierrez as he finally made a contribution to Sauber’s recent surge (and, at six points, a weighty one). The question now is can he keep it going at Buddh? I’m going to say yes.

Most to prove: Force India. If this is the last Indian Grand Prix for a while, then the home team at least has a chance to leave their fans with some fond memories. But with only three points between Adrian Sutil (all his) and Paul di Resta in the last seven races, they’ll have to step it up.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Just as he was in Japan, his fine run of form combined with his affinity for the circuit should see him take to the top step of the podium once again and clinch a fourth world title.

Surprising finish: Jenson Button. McLaren have been running well here in India, so Button may be able to take advantage of his alternative strategy to work his way up the order and pick up some solid points.

Most to prove: Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian driver needs a good result here to prove to Red Bull that they made the right decision to hire him, and a stand-out result in his final four races for Toro Rosso would go a long way to doing this.

Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Yes, he might be conservatively-minded as he was when the title beckoned in Japan two years ago. But with a half-second advantage even over his team mate he can afford to drive with his fingertips and still thrash his competitors.

Surprising finish: Nico Hulkenberg. The Sauber looks very good on the medium tyres – he could be an outside bet for a podium finish.

Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. He’s come on in leaps and bounds in recent races with excellent qualifying performances which have allowed him to stay out of trouble and race at the front. From 17th on the grid he has to show he can keep a cool head and make his way up through the field.

Relive championship battle tonight at 7 pm ET on NBCSN — IndyCar Chronicles: Simon Pagenaud

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If you want to relive the excitement of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship battle between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, make sure to tune in tonight at 7 p.m. ET to IndyCar Chronicles on NBCSN.

“IndyCar Chronicles: Simon Pagenaud” is the final episode of this year’s show and features interviews with the two Team Penske teammates as they break down before, during and after the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Pagenaud dominated the season, winning five of the series’ 16 races, and put a bow on his first-ever IndyCar championship by winning the season finale at the picturesque road course north of San Francisco.

Power, who was seeking his second IndyCar championship (in three seasons), missed the first race of the season due to a health issue, but still bounced back to win four races in the season and was Pagenaud’s primary challenger heading to Sonoma.

Unfortunately for Power, a mechanical issue that his car suffered in the race paved the way for Pagenaud to win both the event and the championship.

Check out the video above for a two-minute preview of tonight’s show.

Previous editions of IndyCar Chronicles can also be viewed on YouTube.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Simon Pagenaud had The Force with him in winning IndyCar championship

The Force was definitely with Simon Pagenaud when he won the Verizon IndyCar Series championship on Sept. 18.
(Getty Images)
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So, Simon Pagenaud DID have an extra advantage when he won his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship on Sept. 18.

Pagenaud had The Force with him – no, we’re not talking about NHRA legend John Force – but rather The Force from Star Wars.

Our friends at IndyCar.com revealed in a story Wednesday that Pagenaud was part of a Verizon-sponsored advertisement for the popular “The Star Wars Show” on YouTube.

Show hosts Andi Gutierrez and Peter Townley tried to draw a connection between IndyCar racing and the popular Star Wars movie franchise.

“Star Wars is all about things going fast, spaceships (and) pod racers,” Townley said.

Added Gutierrez, “Right, it’s a natural connection.”

They interviewed Pagenaud at Sonoma Raceway, where the French driver would go on to win the championship later that weekend.

“I love this racetrack because it’s very difficult to get right,” Pagenaud said. “It’s quite slippery. You might experience up to 4Gs. Unleash the beast inside of you – and use The Force.”

See, we told you Pagenaud had an extra advantage.

It’s not surprising that Sonoma Raceway caught the attention of the show, given that George Lucas’ famed Skywalker Ranch is only about 20 miles from the racetrack.

Speaking of which, in one of the strangest Star Wars trivia contests we’ve ever heard of, both Townley and Gutierrez were peppered with questions about the film series while they “toured” the 2.385-mile racetrack at speeds of around 110 mph.

In addition to giving the answers, there was quite a bit of screaming from the hosts during the ride, with IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves and Indy Lights pilot Zach Veach serving as chauffeurs in the two-seat INDYCAR Experience car.

Who knows, maybe the next Star Wars film may include Indy cars in it instead of pod racers or TIE fighters. And instead of a lightsaber, maybe they could use the buttons on an IndyCar steering wheel to shoot all the menaces of The Empire.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

New York, Montreal switch dates on revised Formula E calendar

Formula E New York Press Conference Event.
New York, New York, USA.
Tuesday 20 September 2016.
Photo:  / FE
ref: Digital Image _L5R5688
© Formula E
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The planned Formula E races in New York City and Montreal have swapped dates on a revised calendar for the all-electric series’ third season issued by the FIA on Wednesday.

On the first calendar issued by Formula E over the London ePrix weekend in July, Montreal was slated for July 15-16 with New York set on July 29-30.

The New York race was officially launched last week, but no date was set amid ongoing discussions regarding its best placement.

Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council this week, a revised calendar for season three has been revealed with New York moving to the July 15-16 weekend.

Montreal now becomes the season finale on July 29-30, with both races remaining double headers and subject to the track being homologated.

The calendar also sees the removal of the two ‘TBA’ rounds, understood to be Singapore and London, leaving a 12-race calendar set for season three.

The new campaign starts in Hong Kong on October 9.

2016/17 Formula E calendar

1. Hong Kong – October 9
2. Marrakesh – November 12
3. Buenos Aires – February 18
4. Mexico City – April 1
5. Monaco – May 13
6. Paris – May 20
7. Berlin – June 10
8. Brussels – July 1
9. New York – July 15
10. New York – July 16
11. Montreal – July 29
12. Montreal – July 30

FIA confirms new wet start procedure for Formula 1 in 2017

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29:  The safety car drives ahead of the field including Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and  Red Bull Racing, Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari  during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2016 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
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The FIA has confirmed a new wet start procedure for Formula 1 from the 2017 season, as approved by the World Motor Sport Council at its meeting this week.

Following criticism of races starting behind the safety car in heavy rain that denied fans the chance to see a proper standing start, the FIA will tweak the sporting regulations accordingly.

“A new procedure regarding wet weather starts was accepted,” a statement from the FIA reads.

“From 2017, if a safety car is deemed to be required for the beginning of a race due to wet weather, a normal standing start will occur once the track is deemed safe to race.

“The process will see the safety car return to the pit lane and the cars assemble on the grid for the start.”

The change will be in force from next year’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 26, as confirmed on the provisional calendar also announced by the FIA on Wednesday.

Other changes approved by the WMSC at its meeting include a relaxing of the ban on helmet designs, an end to stockpiling of power unit components and a standard issue of tires for the early part of the season.

“Drivers must continue to present their helmets in substantially the same livery at every event of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship for easy recognition of the driver in the car,” the FIA statement reads.

“However a driver will now be allowed one event (such as a home race) for a special livery (at the driver’s choice). Drivers will also be allowed to change their helmet liveries if changing teams during the season.

“During any single event, if a driver introduces more than one of a power unit element that is subject to penalty, only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent events without further penalty. This is to prevent the stockpiling of spare power unit elements.

“For the first five events of the 2017 Championship season only, the normal team selection procedure for tires will not be used as the deadline occurs before pre-season testing.

“For these events the supplier will allocate two sets of the hardest compound specification, four sets of the medium compound specification and seven sets of the softest compound specification to each driver.”

You can read the full statement from the FIA here.