NBC Sports presents over 18 hours of United States GP coverage

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The United States Grand Prix is one of the most hotly anticipated races on the Formula One calendar, with Austin, Texas, welcoming drivers, teams and fans from all over the world. It appears that Formula One has found a good foothold in the US, and the second grand prix to be held at the Circuit of the Americas will look to build upon the success of the inaugural event that was won by Lewis Hamilton.

However, all eyes will be on Sebastian Vettel who aims for an unprecedented eighth consecutive victory this Sunday, when NBC Sports presents live coverage of the Formula One United States Grand Prix at 1 p.m. CT, highlighting more than 18 hours of Formula 1 coverage across NBC, NBCSN and CNBC this weekend.

Race coverage will begin with F1 Countdown, NBC’s 60-minute, on-site pre-race show, at noon CT hosted by NBC Sports Group’s lead F1 commentator Leigh Diffey. Diffey will be on-site at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, alongside David Hobbs (analyst), Steve Matchett (analyst), and Will Buxton (reporter).

In addition to pre-race analysis, F1 Countdown will feature a sit-down interview with Diffey and Vettel, and an introduction to the race voiced over by Rush director Ron Howard.

NBCSN will air live coverage of practice on Friday at noon CT. Live coverage of qualifying will air Saturday on CNBC at noon CT. In addition to NBC’s live coverage of the Formula One United States Grand Prix, NBCSN will air an encore presentation of the race on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT.
Schedules are subject to change, but this is the coverage plan as outlined:
DATE COVERAGE NETWORK TIME
Fri., November 15 United States Grand Prix – Practice NBCSN 1 p.m.
Fri., November 15 United States Grand Prix – Practice (Encore) NBCSN 10 p.m.
Sat., November 16 F1 36 NBCSN 12:30 a.m.
Sat., November 16 United States Grand Prix – Qualifying CNBC 1 p.m.
Sat., November 16 United States Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 6:30 p.m.
Sat., November 16 United States Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 11 p.m.
Sun., November 17 F1 Countdown NBC 1 p.m.
Sun., November 17 United States Grand Prix NBC 2 p.m.
Sun., November 17 United States Grand Prix (Encore) NBCN 6 p.m.

*All times ET

NBC Sports Live Extra — NBC Sports’ live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will provide live comprehensive streaming coverage of the Formula One United States Grand Prix, as well as practice and qualifying in the days preceding the race . Coverage will be streamed via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of home and on multiple platforms.

For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play.

Coverage airing on:

  • NBC will live stream to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra;
  • NBCSN will live stream to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra, and to the digital platforms of participating cable, satellite, and telco services, via “TV Everywhere,” which is available on an authenticated basis to subscribers of participating MVPDs.

Further to the TV coverage, be sure to use MotorSportsTalk as your definitive source for all news, interviews and features from the United States Grand Prix weekend, as well as following @F1onNBCSports on Twitter for live commentary throughout the televised sessions.

IndyCar’s 2018 full-field grid nearing completion

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Following Wednesday’s confirmation of the all-Canadian tandem at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, each of the eight full-time teams in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season have announced at least one driver for 2018, leaving very few remaining question marks.

What stands confirmed is below:

CONFIRMED

  • Team Penske (3, Chevrolet): Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (1, Honda): Scott Dixon
  • Andretti Autosport (4, Honda): Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2, Honda): Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (2, Honda): James Hinchcliffe, Robert Wickens
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (2, Chevrolet): Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter (ovals)
  • A.J. Foyt Enterprises (1, Chevrolet): Tony Kanaan
  • Dale Coyne Racing (1, Honda): Sebastien Bourdais
  • Harding Racing (1, Chevrolet): Gabby Chaves

There are four additional drivers confirmed for selected races or an month of May program:

  • Team Penske (1, Chevrolet): Helio Castroneves
  • Andretti Autosport (1, Honda): Stefan Wilson
  • Calmels Sport with SPM (1, Honda): Tristan Gommendy
  • Team TBD (1, TBD): Kyle Kaiser

All told that’s 17 full-season driver and team combinations confirmed and four additional part-time programs, at least, that are set. Several of those driver/team combinations will have engineering and strategist changes, as well.

In a minor note since our last update at Sonoma, Marco Andretti confirmed he won’t run No. 27 next year. Of note, Bryan Herta served as Andretti’s race strategist this year, although the car he was an entrant on was Alexander Rossi’s No. 98 car. Herta will continue his relationship with Andretti Autosport again next season.

WHAT’S LEFT TO SORT? NOT MUCH

Elsewhere, there’s only a handful of remaining question marks as the series hits mid-October, a rarity from past years and an illustration of the urgency to fill seats to get as much preparation time in testing with the new 2018 Dallara universal aero kit as possible.

NBC Sports expects 2016 Indy Lights champion and 2017 IndyCar rookie-of-the-year Ed Jones to be confirmed soon as second driver in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 19 Honda alongside Sebastien Bourdais, with team personnel and Bourdais both having indicated a preference in keeping the Dubai-based Brit for a second year.

NBC Sports also expects Jones’ successor as Indy Lights champion, Kyle Kaiser, to have his future announced shortly in terms of which team he’ll step up to IndyCar with. It would not be a surprise if Kaiser does graduate along with Juncos Racing, although Kaiser is known to have talked to multiple teams. The Mazda Motorsports scholarship nets him $1 million for a three-race program, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500, with the driver then needing to secure additional funding for further races, as Jones and Pigot both have each of the last two years.

The status of Brendon Hartley has now been thrown up as a slight question mark dependent on how his Formula 1 debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso goes at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, and if Toro Rosso provides him a further race opportunity in one of the remaining three Grands Prix thereafter. Having been all-but-earmarked for Chip Ganassi Racing’s second seat in 2018, if an F1 offer comes, Hartley’s potential IndyCar bow could get delayed.

A McLaren-named entry competing either in the Indianapolis 500 or full-time seems further off than realistic for next year, McLaren’s Zak Brown told reporters on a teleconference this week. McLaren maintains an IndyCar technical presence though, via its McLaren Applied Technologies outfit.

What’s left then are the dominoes of whether Carlin’s IndyCar plans officially come to fruition as the team has gotten closer than it ever has to doing so, and who emerges in the second seats at A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Ed Carpenter Racing (road and street courses), respectively.

A number of young IndyCar veterans – Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball, Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly namely – are yet to land for 2018 and there’s no guarantee all four of them will be back in IndyCar next season.

There’s also a handful of young drivers, namely RC Enerson, Jack Harvey, Esteban Gutierrez, Santiago Urrutia, Zachary Claman DeMelo, Sage Karam and Matthew Brabham among others, who could well emerge in the frame for seats.

Gutierrez’s status seemed dependent on Mexico City being added to the 2018 calendar, and although the race still could be added, the fact neither is in place at this point doesn’t inspire as much confidence about his presence as a regular on the grid as it did earlier this summer.

All told, there’s not nearly that much to sort out as IndyCar’s grid for 2018 is looking very much close to set at this early stage of a long offseason.