Ganassi makes strides with Chevy, Franchitti’s input at Sebring

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The Chip Ganassi Racing organization is not one to rest on its laurels. Judging by the quotes issued after Friday’s Chevrolet manufacturer test at Sebring International Raceway, the team continues to improve at the site of its much ballyhooed single-day test last June in a quest to take home another IndyCar Series championship.

Defending series champion Scott Dixon said the team is already adjusting well to the engine change from Honda to Chevrolet, and that he was able to crank out a series of consistent laps.

“Yeah it was really good,” Dixon said. “We had lots of different things to get through obviously and different sort of projects for each car. But the engine package just ran. We had a couple of little issues to work out, but you expect that with a brand new engine for the season. Really excited to see that it runs, it just runs.”

Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull offered a key insight on Twitter during the test of Dixon’s feedback level, one which he called “active.” See the tweet below.

Dixon’s teammate Charlie Kimball made sure to praise the input and feedback of Dario Franchitti, who is now retired from driving but still actively assisting the team. Franchitti was on site in Sebring.

“I think as a team we really fed off each other today,” said Kimball, who won his first. I can’t go without saying how much we appreciated having Dario (Franchitti) around actually for additional perspective. He is very good at that. That was helpful, but as far as all four of us the day went reasonably flawlessly as far as on-track mechanical stuff.”

The two new team members, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Briscoe, were pleased as well. Briscoe’s thoughts can be found here while Kanaan said despite his still getting used to the new car, it was a trouble-free day.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”