F1 Testing in Jerez - Day Two

Button leads Jerez Day 2; Renaults have issues

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Jenson Button posted the fastest time on the second day of Formula One’s opening four-day test at Jerez, but reliability and limited running remained the bigger story compared to times.

For what it was worth though, Button’s quickest time was nearly three seconds faster than the best posted by Kimi Raikkonen on Tuesday. Button clocked in at 1:24.165 after 43 laps of running in the McLaren MP4-29, compared to Raikkonen’s 1:27.104.

Additionally, it was a good sign for McLaren to get out after electrical issues blighted their day on Tuesday.

Raikkonen was second with a 1:24.812 after 47 laps aboard the Ferrari F14 T. Valtteri Bottas logged 35 in the Williams Fw36 at 1:25.344, with Nico Rosberg fourth at 1:25.588 in the new Mercedes.

Rosberg’s 97 laps Wednesday were four more than the combined total for the field on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Renault was left to go back to the drawing board after a frustrating day, with a suspected energy-storing issue.

Sebastian Vettel turned only eight laps in the RB10, with an unrepresentative fast time.

“We’ve not had a lot of running and have a few problems to sort out, but with such big rule changes it’s usual to have teething problems. That’s what tests are for, to sort those issues out,” said the four-time defending World Champion.

F1 rookie Marcus Ericsson’s day wasn’t much better as he posted only 11 laps in the new Caterham CT05.

Toro Rosso didn’t run at all, and Marussia failed to make it out of the garage with its yet-to-be-officially-unveiled MR03. Lotus, of course, isn’t at the test at all.

Some driver changes will occur for Thursday’s running, as teams continue to work through the development and niggling issues on their new cars.

1. Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:24.165, 43 Laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:24.812, 47 
3. Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Mercedes, 1:25.344, 35
4. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:25.588, 97
5. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 1:28.376, 37
6. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber-Ferrari, 1:33.270, 53
7. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham-Renault, 1:37.975, 11
8. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:38.320, 8

Andretti Autosport closing on four cars for Indy Lights

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Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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The departure of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports from the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires grid doesn’t necessarily mean a departure of cars from the grid, if those cars wind up elsewhere.

At least one more figures to land with Andretti Autosport, with the team closing on running four cars next season.

The team confirmed Nico Jamin earlier this week, in addition to the previously confirmed Dalton Kellett. Ryan Norman has tested for Andretti this offseason and figures to be added, while a fourth car would be a wild card.

“He went really well. He’s the real deal,” team principal Michael Andretti told NBC Sports about Jamin. “He’s serious about it. His approach is very professional. He’ll be really quick.

“We’re excited to have him, Dalton, and then we have a couple other deals trying to get finalized. We’d fully expect to be a four-car team. We bought a lot of stuff from (Schmidt).”

While Andretti is doing his part to help the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires ladder with a four-car effort, and with Belardi Auto Racing and Juncos Racing poised to be bigger teams in 2017 than they were in 2016, he did note the concern over the series’ costs of operating.

For several years, Andretti Autosport ran a team in all three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy. However, first the team’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, then Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, programs were discontinued. The Dallara IL-15 Mazda, introduced prior to 2015, has witnessed an escalation in costs compared to the older Dallara that came into the series at its inception in 2002.

“That’s the problem; this new car made the same mistakes IndyCar did,” Andretti said. “It’s costing a good $200,000 more than what it used to, and it’s a big number. That’s been a big problem.

“That’s why they’re struggling, because it’s expensive with the (U.S.) dollar being so strong. Europeans aren’t necessarily looking because of the strength of the dollar. Personally, I feel the new car was a bit of mistake the way they went about it.”

Andretti Autosport had Kellett, Dean Stoneman and Shelby Blackstock this year in Indy Lights. Blackstock shifted to Belardi Auto Racing, while Stoneman is unsure of what he’ll be doing next season. The Englishman won twice, both on the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Rosberg would have continued in F1 had he lost title to Hamilton

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Nico Rosberg says he would have continued racing in Formula 1 had he lost the drivers’ championship to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton last weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg clinched his maiden F1 World Championship by five points ahead of Hamilton before sensationally announcing his immediate retirement from racing five days later.

The news sent shockwaves through F1, but Rosberg was content with fulfilling his childhood dream and winning the World Championship, reasoning his retirement.

“When I was six years old and started out, the dream was very clear: it’s becoming Formula 1 World Champion,” Rosberg said after receiving the championship trophy at the FIA gala in Vienna on Friday.

“That’s what I pursued all along, and it’s mission accomplished for me. I’ve done it. It’s my dream come true.

“Now on to other things, family first now, in the winter gonna love that, and let’s see what the future holds. Just following my heart.”

Rosberg revealed that he would have continued in F1 had he lost out to Hamilton in the race for the championship, with his Mercedes contract running to the end of the 2018 season.

“No I never give up. So if I would have come second, I would have gone for another year for sure, next year, definitely,” Rosberg said.

“I knew when I won [I would retire], but I wasn’t sure yet if I had the courage. But here I am now, and I’m very happy.”

Rosberg receives F1 World Championship trophy at FIA gala

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Nico Rosberg has officially been crowned Formula 1 World Champion after picking up the drivers’ trophy at the end-of-season FIA prize giving gala in Vienna on Friday.

Rosberg won his first world title last weekend in Abu Dhabi, edging out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by five points in the final standings.

Rosberg dropped a bombshell on Friday by announcing his immediate retirement from F1, just hours before the FIA gala and his coronation as champion.

“Finally I lose that little asterisk next to my name that means not sure yet, it’s finally confirmed,” Rosberg said after receiving the trophy from FIA president Jean Todt.

“Unbelievable. So proud to be here. Thank you very much to the FIA for the special video that got me crying for the 15th time in four days. It’s been a pretty intense period.

“It’s my childhood dream. Emotional for me also when I saw this trophy for the first time today, I had a look where my Dad was. For me that’s one of the most emotional things about this, I managed to achieve what he did 34 years ago. It’s very special.”

Ricciardo: Rosberg has given someone an amazing Christmas present

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Daniel Ricciardo says that Nico Rosberg has given someone “an amazing Christmas present” by announcing his shock retirement from Formula 1 and opening up a seat at Mercedes for the 2017 season.

Ahead of Friday’s FIA prize giving in Vienna, Rosberg announced his retirement from F1 with immediate effect less than a week after winning his first World Championship.

The news sent shockwaves through F1, as well as sparking speculation as to who will replace him at Mercedes, the team that has won every championship in the past three seasons.

Following the FIA gala where he received his trophy for finishing third in the drivers’ championship, Ricciardo spoke about the news in a video posted to his Instagram account.

“We had the FIA gala last night, the end of year awards. It was good, it was really beautiful, but I think the big news was Nico announcing his retirement,” Ricciardo said.

“That was pretty unexpected I guess. He’s given someone an amazing Christmas present, whoever gets that seat, I hope they appreciate what they’re getting.

“But good on him for having the nuts to say that’s enough, he achieved what he wanted. Fair play.”

👋🏼🇦🇹

A video posted by Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) on