F1 concerned about diminishing thrill factor

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F1 team bosses are wary next season could produce a series of unexciting races after an uneventful grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas.

While the track has been largely praised as one of the best new additions to the calendar in recent years, Sunday’s grand prix was a largely processional affair. While Sebastian Vettel dominated proceedings the drivers behind him spent much of the race preserving their tires in order to avoid making more than a single pit stop.

Next year’s change in engine regulations will make fuel saving a greater concern. And the sport’s tire supplier Pirelli intends to err on the side of producing more conservative rubber as they are unsure how much stress the new turbo power units will put on the rear tires.

“It is a point of concern or discussion in the next couple of weeks, because we cannot have a situation where in order to be very conservative we will have races where there is not any thrill,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told Autosport.

Pirelli is anxious for more testing in order to ensure their 2014 tires are appropriate for the radically overhauled cars.

“I am sure with Pirelli we will find the right solution because it is not a problem of giving more favors to one team or to another – it is important for the sport and the show,” Domenicali added.

“We will have a different car that will produce different torque, above all on the rear, so I think this is a point that needs to be heavily discussed in the next few weeks.”

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.