Mansell: New 2014 rules inflict “discrimination” on F1’s bigger drivers

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Your prototypical Formula One driver isn’t a particularly big person. But with F1 preparing for multiple introductions in 2014 such as new, 1.6-liter turbocharged engines, it appears that keeping light or getting lighter is going to be even more important for those that strap themselves into the cockpit.

And that’s not a good thing according to 1992 F1 World Champion and 1993 CART champion Nigel Mansell (pictured, center).

“It’s disgraceful, it’s discrimination against the medium-sized large driver,” he said to writer Brad Spurgeon in today’s edition of The New York Times.

“In years gone by, we didn’t have traction control or power steering. You had to be a strong driver and there were a lot of strong drivers. If you had this weight limit, they wouldn’t have been able to drive cars many years ago – or they would have driven with great difficulty.”

Spurgeon’s piece details the pressure that’s on the taller (and heavier) competitors in the F1 paddock to keep light and enable their cars to squeeze out that extra tenth or two on the track.

Former World Champion and current McLaren driver Jenson Button is quoted as saying that he fasts before races and only eats “limited amounts” of high-protein, no-carb food throughout the year.

The minimum weight for car and driver together in 2014 will be increased to 690 kilograms or 1,521 pounds; in 2013, the minimum was 642 kilograms (1,412 pounds). But as Spurgeon writes, the new equipment for next season is taking up much of that additional weight.

And that means you won’t be finding the taller drivers hitting up all-you-can-eat buffets in Monte Carlo, Austin, or anywhere else along the Grand Prix circuit.

The F1 life isn’t easy and these drivers accept that. But surely, it can afford them to have a cheeseburger and fries on occasion?

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.