There’s been a large contingent of IndyCar personnel on the ground here at Circuit of the Americas this weekend, whether drivers or competition personnel. Chief among them is the series’ president of competition and operations, Derrick Walker.
Walker is here, working with FIA officials in meetings regarding potential safety and other competition-related improvements that could come to IndyCar in 2014.
Additionally, he confirmed that changes are likely coming to IndyCar’s competition personnel.
“It’s not what you think, though,” he noted. “Frankly we need a bigger staff on the competition side and we need to have the capital investment to be able to do that. We’re moving in that direction.”
A source close to the situation has confirmed the potential addition of at least one known IndyCar entity for the competition department.
Walker said he is still in the midst of what he considered a “steep learning curve” with IndyCar, from the managerial side.
What that does mean is, contrary to earlier reports, that IndyCar will be his first preference in 2014 and not the Falken Tire-backed Porsche sports car team that competes in the merged TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Walker explained why the confusion existed.
“For 2013 I had the commitment to Falken, and because I came into IndyCar midseason, any conflicts meant that I would tend to those Falken responsibilities first. I had to,” Walker said. “I can be at the non-conflicting (sports car) rounds, but IndyCar will be first.”
The Falken TUDOR team will still be run out of the Walker Racing shop in Indianapolis with the same crew. That team is set to miss the first race of the 2014 season as it takes delivery and assembles its new 991-coded Porsche 911 RSR.
MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has been discharged from hospital after suffering injuries in a motorcross accident earlier this week.
Nine-time motorcycling world champion Rossi was diagnosed with “mild thoracic and abdominal trauma” after the accident on Thursday morning, resulting in his admission to the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, Italy.
The hospital noted in a statement that there were “no fractures detected in any part of the body and no serious traumatic pathologies”, with Rossi recovering overnight with pain relief.
On Friday, a further statement was issued confirming that Rossi had been discharged from hospital.
“Valentino Rossi has returned home from the Ospedale Infermi in Rimini, having successfully completed routine diagnostic tests that were scheduled earlier on Friday,” the statement reads.
“With the attending doctors confirming the findings shared in this morning‘s medical bulletin, the nine-time World Champion left the hospital at 5.30pm, accompanied by his staff.
“He will now continue the recovery process at home.”
The Yamaha rider’s next racing engagement comes next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.