Grosjean’s season ends in retirement after engine failure

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Romain Grosjean’s second full season in Formula One has come to a disappointing end during today’s Brazilian Grand Prix after the French driver suffered from an engine failure on the third lap of the race.

Grosjean, who did earn himself a ‘crash kid’ reputation in 2012 after a series of incidents, has developed into a highly capable and impressive driver in the past few months with a string of top five finishes that dates back to the Korean Grand Prix in October. He also came close to winning the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, but he was eventually forced to settle for third place as Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber found a way past the Lotus in the final stint of the race.

However, Grosjean’s fine run of form came to an unfortunate end in Brazil today. After starting the race in sixth place, Grosjean made a poor start to lose a couple of positions before his engine eventually cried enough, spewing plumes of smoke across the final corner of the race track. His Lotus car eventually ground to a halt on the inside of the final corner just before the pit entry, meaning that Grosjean did not have too far to go.

Despite this not being the way Grosjean would have wanted his season to finish, he will undoubtedly be pleased with his performances in the second half of 2013 that have secured him a place with Lotus in 2014.

Verizon confirms IndyCar title sponsor role exit after 2018

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As perhaps expected, Verizon has confirmed Friday it will end its role as Verizon IndyCar Series title sponsor following the end of its fifth year in 2018.

Reports surfaced shortly after this year’s IndyCar season finale at Sonoma Raceway that Verizon was re-evaluating its role within the series.

Indeed, as it was before becoming title sponsor in 2014, Verizon will remain a partner with Team Penske despite not also carrying the series title sponsor role.

In a statement, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles thanked Verizon for its support in this overall series role.

“Verizon has been a super sponsor and will continue to be so through all of next season. We appreciate that they reached their decision in a timely way so that we can thoughtfully and deliberately go back into the market for 2019,” Miles said in a statement, via Sports Business Journal.

Roger Penske also issued a statement, also via SBJ, saying, “We want to thank Verizon for the support they have provided the IndyCar Series and the role they have played as they helped us grow the sport as the title sponsor for the past five years. Verizon has helped the series reach new fans through their world-class activation and technology, including the Verizon IndyCar Mobile App. While they will no longer be the Series Title Sponsor after 2018, it is exciting they will still be in the sport through their relationship with our organization.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series has built a wave of momentum over the last few years with its competition level, parity and enthusiasm for some revived events, with Gateway Motorsports Park and Road America standing out as highlights being brought back after an extended hiatus.

The good news for INDYCAR (sanctioning body) is that there’s a new Dallara universal aero kit that’s been busy with testing the last few months and is now in the hands of manufacturers for manufacturer testing, and the series announced long-term extensions with Dallara, Chevrolet, Honda and Firestone earlier this year. New series champion Josef Newgarden has also been busy in a number of media events and appearances since the Sonoma season finale.

With this confirmation, INDYCAR has a new entitlement sponsor to find and a new TV contract to sort, with both existing contracts up after 2018.