IndyCar teams to test over next month, mainly at Sebring (UPDATED)

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The long, five-month offseason is underway for IndyCar, but there is still some testing to look forward to over the next month before the end of the calendar year.

Seven teams: KV Racing Technology, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Autosport, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and A.J. Foyt Racing, began testing on Wednesday and will continue through December 19. INDYCAR also outlined updated testing rules for 2014 on Wednesday.

Most will be at Sebring, while Penske will make trips to Barber Motorsports Park (Nov. 25-26), Auto Club Speedway (Dec. 9) and intriguingly, Phoenix International Raceway (Dec. 11).

Phoenix won’t be on the IndyCar schedule anytime soon but Penske will utilize a one-day test to enhance its short oval setup. Only two teams – Panther Racing (former driver JR Hildebrand) and Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti) – have conducted tests at PIR with the Dallara DW12 chassis since it was introduced in 2012.

Penske’s new IndyCar recruit, Juan Pablo Montoya, is not scheduled for any of those tests at the moment. Per the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer, Montoya is under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing through end of day Monday, November 18, after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ganassi will run its new Chevrolets for the first time on Dec. 4, and Tony Kanaan will have his first outing for the team. Additionally, Alex Tagliani is still listed at CGR while Dario Franchitti continues his recovery from his Houston injuries.

Also of note, Simon Pagenaud is listed as testing for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, rather than the Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports nomenclature he has run under the last two years. Carlos Munoz will test for Andretti Autosport when the team runs its new Hondas for the first time.

UPDATE: 10:00 a.m. ET: A.J. Foyt Racing and Team Penske have been removed from testing at Sebring on Nov. 18. Dale Coyne Racing has been added with Arie Luyendyk Jr. Luyendyk Jr. has raced in Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks series this year. The all-time Indy Lights starts leader has one career IndyCar start, the 2006 Indianapolis 500 with a family-run team.

Here’s the breakdown of scheduled tests, per INDYCAR:

  • Nov. 13-14: KV Racing Technology (Sebastien Bourdais, Mikael Grenier), Sebring
  • Nov. 18: Honda manufacturer test for Andretti Autosport (James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Simon Pagenaud), Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Graham Rahal), Dale Coyne Racing (Arie Luyendyk Jr.), Sebring
  • Nov. 19: SPM (Pagenaud), Sebring
  • Nov. 25-26: Penske (Castroneves, Power), Barber
  • Dec. 4: Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball), Sebring
  • Dec. 9: Penske (Castroneves, Power), Fontana
  • Dec. 11: Penske (Castroneves, Power), Phoenix
  • Dec. 18-19: SPM (Pagenaud), Sebring

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”