Dominant end to ’13 gave us earlier start on ’14 – Horner

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner warned his team are unlikely to have let this year’s championship detract from their efforts to prepare for next year’s new engine regulations.

With a sweeping overhaul of the rulebook to come in 2014, Horner said his team had taken advantage of the opportunity to make an early start on next year’s car.

“Thankfully we managed to secure this championship reasonably early which has enabled all the focus to go onto the RB10, whilst obviously Ferrari and Mercedes have been battling each other for the runners-up position,” he told Sky.

“I think that of course we have been pushing the boundaries and [chief technical officer] Adrian [Newey] is never famous for starting next year’s car early and you know that is exactly the same case for the RB10,” Horner added.

Red Bull ended the season with nine consecutive victories – all scored by Sebastian Vettel – and Horner said the team have raised their game this year.

“We have some very good opponents, there are some very clever people in the other teams, but I think what we have achieved this year as a team – you know we have worked closer, harder, more effectively than any year – and we are always looking inwardly,” he said.

“Adrian and the technical team have done a brilliant job, all the departments, all the support, all the unsung heroes that you don’t get to see or hear about have all gone that extra yard and that is what has enabled us to achieve this kind of result.”

UPDATED: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama under red-flag race stoppage due to rain

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UPDATE: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.