Rosberg hopes to “give Red Bull a hard time this weekend”

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is revelling in his clean sweep of the timesheets during Friday’s practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix, and he hopes that this good pace will continue throughout the rest of the weekend as he looks to take the fight to the all-conquering Red Bulls in the final race of the season.

Rosberg finished quickest in both practice sessions on Friday at Interlagos as he tamed the wet conditions that look set to remain throughout the weekend. Despite being wary of the fuel that the Red Bulls were running with, the German driver is feeling confident.

“Today I had a good start into the weekend, and I was very quick in the rain even though we don’t really know about the fuel levels of the other teams,” Rosberg explained. “Therefore we need to read the time sheets with some caution. But generally I have higher hopes now that perhaps we can give Red Bull a hard time this weekend.”

With rain forecast for qualifying and the race on Sunday, Rosberg is hoping to capitalize on any errors that his rivals may make in the difficult conditions.

“We all know that the weather plays always a big role here at Interlagos and can catch you out. We were not able to run that much but the track feels really great and it was great fun to be out there and find the limit in these difficult conditions.”

Mercedes are looking to secure second place in the constructors’ championship this weekend and currently enjoy a fifteen point lead over third-placed Ferrari.

Schmidt Peterson hires IndyCar’s first female lead engineer, will work with Hinchcliffe

Photo courtesy Audi Sport
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Leena Gade, who helped lead Audi to three wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as lead engineer for the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda of driver James Hinchcliffe.

“I’m really honored that I’ve got a chance to come across and work in INDYCAR,” Gade said in a team media release. “When I was a kid, I used to watch Indy car (racing), especially when Nigel Mansell first came over (in 1993), and I followed it quite a lot.

“During my sports car days, it was a little less so, until I had friends come across to the U.S. to work in it like Piers (Phillips, SPM’s general manager).

“I’m quite honored to be given the chance. It is going to be something completely different to anything I’ve ever done before, so it’s a big learning curve, but it’s a challenge that I’m really relishing, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Gade, who grew up in India and is from Great Britain, is one of the most recognized engineers in all forms of international motorsports. She becomes the first female lead engineer in Verizon IndyCar Series history.

She’s also the second female lead engineer in Indy racing history, joining Diane Holl, who served as engineer for Adrian Fernandez, Tony Kanaan (Tasman Motorsports) and Richie Hearn (Della Penna Motorsports) in CART from 1996-2000.

Gade, who holds engineering degrees from the University of Manchester in England, has engineered cars in several race series and for several manufacturers, including F1, BMW, A1 Grand Prix, GT racing, Jaguar, Audi and most recently with Bentley Motorsport.

She became the first female race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011, and followed that up with another Le Mans win in 2012, as well as being part of the World Endurance Championship drivers and manufacturers titles in the same year.

Also in 2012, she was named FIA WEC “Man of the Year” and was awarded the C&R Racing Women in Technology award from the Lyn St. James Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation.

Her team also won Le Mans for a third time in 2014.

“There was significant interest in Leena amongst the international motorsports community, so we’re really excited that she sees where we’re taking SPM, believes in what we’re doing and that she is now a part of our organization,” Piers Phillips said. “ I’ve known Leena for quite some time now and I’ve worked alongside her, so I knew the credit she’s been given is well deserved. We’re very much looking forward to throwing her into the deep end and seeing her add to the team’s success.”

Gade and Hinchcliffe go into the deep end that Phillips referenced when they take part in a team test Jan. 24 at Sebring International Raceway, the first time the pair will work together.