Rahal confirms Battery Tender return for IndyCar, TUSC

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing released some sponsorship news Thursday, although not perhaps the dominant sponsorship-related question on IndyCar observers’ collective minds.

The team confirmed Deltran Battery Tender®, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency battery chargers, will increased their role with the team. Battery Tender was an associate sponsor of RLL’s 2013 IndyCar Series program, and will be an associate for both the IndyCar program and two-car BMW Team RLL effort in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

“DelTran Battery Tender® is thrilled to expand upon the Rahal Letterman Lanigan partnership! After last year’s success on and off the track with Graham Rahal we could not be happier with our marketing efforts and exposure,” Evin Prelec, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Deltran Battery Tender, said in a team release. “Expanding the partnership to include BMW Team RLL makes perfect sense. We have had a long, successful branding/supplier relationship with BMW and are looking forward to supporting the team and drivers on track.”

While this is good news for the team’s prospects, it’s not the sponsor confirmation the IndyCar community is anticipating. Following the IndyCar Series 2013 season finale in Fontana, NBCSN IndyCar pit reporter Robin Miller reported for RACER.com that Rahal’s team had won the National Guard sponsorship contract from Panther Racing. No news has come on that front since from either team.

The other bit of RLL news still to emerge is who will race as Graham Rahal’s teammate. James Jakes was in the second RLL Honda this past season.

Meanwhile, Panther, which has made a number of staff changes since the offseason and is yet to announce its 2014 driver, has recently made several National Guard-related tweets. Panther has revealed partnerships with Lincoln Technical Institute and Charter Media, but neither is expected to take a full-time primary sponsorship role.

Panther’s first test of 2014 is scheduled at a Chevrolet manufacturer test January 17 at Sebring International Raceway, but a driver has not been named.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”