Ricciardo eager to take on “best in the world” Vettel

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Daniel Ricciardo says he is eagerly anticipating the challenge of taking on Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year after his future team mate clinched his fourth world championship title.

“Four times in a row – phenomenal!” said Ricciardo.

“At the start of the season it looked like it could be anyone’s title shot but from the summer he’s not let anyone even look at the trophy.

“He’s just ran away with it. It’s very impressive and I can’t wait to have the best in the world as my team mate. That’s the real challenge and an opportunity for me to see how good I am. Hopefully I’ll be giving him a tough run for his money.”

Ricciardo finished tenth in India despite coming under pressure from Fernando Alonso in the closing stages. The Ferrari driver was struggling with damage.

Ricciardo said he chose to start the race on the harder tires as the team split their strategy between their two drivers.

“I started the race on the prime tire and JEV [Jean-Eric Vergne] took the option,” said Ricciardo. “For me, that’s a mix of personal choice and team strategy.”

I wanted to start on the prime and when we’re both outside the top ten and there isn’t a clear way to go, the team often splits the strategy to give us the best chance of getting at least one car into the points. Usually the guy who qualifies better gets the choice and in India that was me – though I don’t think JEV was too bothered taking the alternative.”

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

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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.