Red Bull trims Junior team to three drivers

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Red Bull’s motorsports program announced a three-driver group for its Junior team in 2014 that includes Carlos Sainz, Jr. and newcomers Alex Lynn (pictured) and Pierre Gasly.

Gasly, 17, and Sainz, 19, will both compete in the World Series by Renault, while Lynn, 20, is slated to race in the GP3 series for the Carlin team – a team that has shepherded multiple Red Bull Junior drivers through the years, including four-time reigning Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel.

Lynn emerges from the FIA European Formula 3 series, where he finished third in this year’s championship with three wins. One of those victories came in Formula 3’s most important race, the Macau Grand Prix.

“I think that it is obviously fantastic to be privileged enough to join the team that has produced so many Formula One drivers and that includes the greatest driver of our generation so far,” Lynn said of his accomplishment in a Red Bull release.

As for Gasly, he moves to the WSR after winning the championship in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup category with three wins along the way. He will race for the Arden team.

“It is the best news that I could have at the end of the season because for next year I have all the best people around me to focus on my performance,” Gasly said in the same release.

“For next year I think that the goal is clear, I have seen from this year and previous seasons that it is possible to do a good job in the first season so the goal is to win the championship.”

Then there’s Sainz Jr., who will now solely focus on the WSR after splitting his 2013 season between there and GP3. He will suit up for DAMS, the same squad that helped Kevin Magnussen win this year’s series title before his elevation to F1 with McLaren.

A tough act to follow for sure, but Sainz believes he’s up to the task – especially now that he’ll only have one series to worry about.

“I think that it can be a very good thing, just to focus on one series and try to get the most out of it instead of trying to do several championships in different cars,” he said for Red Bull.

“I’ll be focusing only on this category and be trying to win it because I know that if I do well it can be very good for my future.”

McLaren unveils 2018 F1 car, the MCL33

Photo: Getty Images
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McLaren F1 Team became the latest to launch their 2018 challenger on Friday, taking the covers off their new MCL33 chassis early on Friday morning.

McLaren endured a difficult 2017 season of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, with their partnership with Honda eventually dissolving after a troublesome power unit saw them plagued by unreliability and low power.

A switch to Renault power units is expected to see them get an uptick in form, and the MCL33 chassis itself is actually an evolution on last year’s MCL32. Still, the team highlighted areas to improve upon, and aims for a return to prominence in 2018.

“The McLaren team was created by a brave pioneer, and has had bravery at its core ever since. Whether it’s been with brave drivers, brave leaders or brave fortune, this team has always fought back. And we definitely view 2018 as the year when McLaren will move closer to the front, fighting teams and drivers as we improve our fortunes,” said Zak Brown, executive director of McLaren Technology Group.

Brown also highlighted the car’s new papaya orange livery, a throwback to some of the most popular color schemes that have adorned McLaren entrants in a variety of disciplines. Brown indicated that this came about from requests of fans who wanted to see such a livery return to the McLaren marque.

“Our return to a papaya orange livery for this year wasn’t simply an emotional decision; it demonstrates that we are listening to our fans, building deeper engagement with them and the Formula 1 community as a whole. We want McLaren to earn respect on and off the track, and this felt like a good starting point. We want to show everyone what makes this team special, whether that’s our fans or our partners – there’s room for more on our journey.”

The team’s racing director Eric Boullier expressed optimism about the team’s potential for 2018, but also acknowledged the season will be sure to see its fair share of challenges.

“I think the whole team feels proud of this car,” he asserted. “The design, engineering and aerodynamic departments have done an incredible job delivering a new car with a new power unit in an extremely short timeframe. We never took the easy route or looked to shortcut a process or a solution; and the result is a car that is neat and well-resolved.

“That said, we are under no illusions that it will be difficult to splinter the hegemony at the front; and that the midfield will be full of well-funded, experienced outfits with plenty to prove. We are humble about the challenge ahead, but feel we’ve prepared well, have a solid package that we can build upon and exploit as the season progresses, and have two excellent drivers who will make the difference in races.”

The MCL33 took to the track on Friday for filming at a test track in Spain, and will be run in anger for the first time when testing begins next week at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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