Report: Austin sports car weekend could be in for changes

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This past September, the American Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship shared the weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. But the WEC’s boss wants changes to be made for the 2014 running before he decides to bring his series back to the States.

According to John Dagys of SportsCar 365, Gerard Neveu is asking that his WEC stage a day-to-night event on that Saturday afternoon, while the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship potentially shifts to running earlier that day; in 2013, the ALMS held its race at COTA on Saturday with the WEC following on Sunday.

In his comments to Dagys, Neveu expressed his wishes for a compromise between the WEC and the United series, but noted that he and the other teams in his series were not pleased about the Austin weekend this fall. As Dagys writes, less than 8,000 people out of the overall weekend attendance of 35,000 reportedly took in the WEC’s six-hour event at COTA.

“…Clearly the position of the [Automobile Club de l’Ouest] is to protect the WEC, it’s not to promote another series,” Neveu says. “In all spirits, when we wanted to do a joint venture, it was to make sure it was a successful event for both parties during the weekend.

“This is not the feeling after Austin. This is not the feeling that the paddock had in Austin. This is not the feeling and the feedback we received from our partners and from the FIA.”

Neveu also revealed that discussions are underway between the track and IMSA regarding the weekend’s organization.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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