GP2/WSR 2014 Silly Season Updates

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We don’t spend a ton of time at MotorSportsTalk focusing on the GP2 Series and/or World Series by Renault, but considering they’re the two top feeder series into Formula One, we do want to recap who’s lining up where at this stage in the offseason before their 2014 seasons start.

Starting with GP2, some of the F1 aspirational names already confirmed for the 2014 season include McLaren reserve Stoffel Vandoorne and Caterham reserve Alexander Rossi. I spoke to Rossi about his hopes for this year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, when he raced in the DeltaWing prototype.

“I think you always have a shot (to advance), but the best kind of B-plan option is GP2 for another year and I’m quite pleased with that,” said Rossi, who won his first GP2 race at Abu Dhabi in November. “With the same team, keeping the continuity is a positive thing. We have very high expectations for the next year.”

Here’s the quick rundown of confirmed team/driver combinations in GP2:

  • Carlin: 3-Julian Leal
  • DAMS: 7-Jolyon Palmer, 8-Stephane Richelmi
  • ART Grand Prix: 9-Stoffel Vandoorne, 10-Takuya Izawa
  • Hilmer Motorsport: 11-Daniel Abt
  • Rapax: 14-Simon Trummer
  • Arden International: 16-Rene Binder, 17-Andre Negrao
  • EQ8 Caterham Racing: 18-Rio Haryanto, 19-Alexander Rossi
  • MP Motorsport: 20-Daniel De Jong
  • Campos Racing: 26-Arthur Pic

Those seats not confirmed include both seats at Russian Time (Nos. 1, 2), Racing Engineering (Nos. 5, 6), Trident Racing (Nos. 22, 23), Venezuela GP Lazarus (Nos. 24, 25) and second seats at Carlin (No. 4), Hilmer (No. 12), Rapax (No. 15), MP (No. 21) and Campos (No. 27).

The 2013 champion, Fabio Leimer, does not have his plans set for 2014; series runner-up Sam Bird will run selected TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races with Starworks Motorsport in North America. The GP2 season begins April 5-6 at Bahrain.

Meanwhile in WSR, the series won by new McLaren recruit Kevin Magnussen last year, there’s still more seats to be filled before its first test Feb. 25-27 at Motorland Aragon. Confirmed team/driver combinations are below:

Teams (country): 


  • Arden Motorsport (GBR): William Buller, Pierre Gasly
  • DAMS (FRA): Norman Nato, Carlos Sainz Jr.
  • Fortec Motorsports (GBR): Oliver Rowland, Sergey Sirotkin
  • International Draco Racing (ITA): Pietro Fantin
  • ISR (CZE): Jazeman Jaafar
  • Lotus (CZE): Matthieu Vaxiviere
  • Strakka Racing (GBR): Will Stevens, Matias Laine

Teams still needing to confirm both seats are:  AV Formula (ESP), Carlin (GBR), Comtec Racing (GBR), Pons Racing (ESP), Tech 1 Racing (FRA) and Zeta Corse (ITA). Draco, ISR and Lotus still have to confirm their second seats. The WSR race season opens April 12-13 at Monza.

Takuma Sato captures 101st Indianapolis 500

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INDIANAPOLIS – Similar to last year, an Andretti Autosport driver that wasn’t the most discussed or fastest has won the Indianapolis 500.

But after his best month yet at Indianapolis, bravery and tenacity has won Takuma Sato the 2017 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

And for Helio Castroneves, finishing second leaves him again, one spot short of his elusive fourth victory.

Rookie Ed Jones was third ahead of Max Chilton, with Tony Kanaan completing the top five.

Meanwhile Fernando Alonso had an engine issue that took him out from a star drive, and Scott Dixon survived a crazy accident early on despite going airborne.

This was a crazy race because it had 11 yellow flag periods, plus a red flag, and 15 different leaders, a record.

Unofficial results are below. More to follow.

Big wreck late in Indy 500 takes out Power, Hinchcliffe, two others

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A major wreck with 17 laps left in the Indianapolis 500 has occurred, involving five cars.

Oriol Servia, James Hinchcliffe, James Davison, Will Power and Josef Newgarden were involved in the incident, as they exited Turn 1 into the short chute to Turn 2.

All but Newgarden saw their day come to an end in the wreck. Newgarden wasn’t directly involved in the wreck, but spun avoiding the other cars, tapped the inside retaining wall, and spun back onto the racetrack.

Max Chilton is leading the race, with Takuma Sato second, followed by Ed Jones, Helio Castroneves and JR Hildebrand.

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Alonso’s Indy 500 dream ends in all-too-familar Honda engine failure

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From a story that started six weeks ago when he shocked the racing world by announcing his entry to the 101st Indianapolis 500, Fernando Alonso’s dream of winning the Greatest Spectacle in Racing came to an all-too-familiar end when he was sidelined by an engine failure late on.

Two-time Formula 1 champion Alonso had been a force at the front of the pack throughout the first half of the race and even looked capable of taking a famous victory at the Brickyard, only for his engine to give up on the main straight and his hopes to go up in smoke.

Given his Indy 500 entry was put into motion as a way to ease his gripes with McLaren’s F1 struggles with ailing engine partner Honda, for it to end in such fashion weighs heavy with irony and, for Alonso, disappointment.

Thrown into a rolling IndyCar race start for the first, Alonso made a slow getaway on the opening lap to lose four positions and sit ninth, only to then pick his way back through the order with some fine overtakes on the likes of Will Power and JR Hildebrand.

A swift first pit stop of 8.2 seconds from the McLaren-Honda-Andretti crew lifted Alonso to third after the opening cycle, with the Spaniard then putting down the hammer to take the lead of the race from Alexander Rossi on Lap 37.

Alonso and Rossi spent the next 15 laps drafting, swapping the lead back and forth in a bid to save fuel, with the McLaren man sitting as race leader when the red flag was thrown for the crash between Scott Dixon and Jay Howard on Lap 52.

Alonso shuffled back to fourth before the next caution was shown following Conor Daly’s crash, and the Spaniard continued to sit in the top five despite being frustrated by former F1 colleague Max Chilton’s bold defense at one point.

Running second behind Andretti teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Rossi, Alonso was able to battle his way back through to the lead on the restart with 70 laps to go following Buddy Lazier’s shunt.

Honda’s engine concerns were justified when smoke began to seep from the rear of Hunter-Reay’s car, sparking another caution on Lap 138. While it did rule out one of Alonso’s win rivals, it was one less bullet in the gun for Andretti at the front.

Alonso made his penultimate stop under the caution, dropping him to ninth behind the drivers that opted to stay out. Just a single lap followed when Ed Carpenter’s front wing broke, leaving debris on track, but there was enough time for Alonso to fall back to 12th ahead of the sixth caution.

The loss of position also cost Alonso his net advantage over the field. Now on the same strategy as Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Oriol Servia – all of whom ran ahead – Alonso had ground to make up heading towards the final round of pit stops.

Alonso’s final visit to pit road was sparked by another caution called for a Honda engine failure, this time leaving Charlie Kimball on the sidelines. The majority of the pack came in, leaving the field with a straight sprint to the flag. Sat ninth for the restart, Alonso had to mount a charge with 30 laps to go on the restart.

Having passed James Davison early on the restart, Alonso picked up another spot with a brave move around the outside of Kanaan with 24 laps to go, giving him P7.

As Alonso continued to push, he became the third Honda driver to suffer an engine failure as he came towards the start/finish with around 20 laps remaining, his car grinding to a halt.

First Honda engine issue strikes Hunter-Reay on Lap 137

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INDIANAPOLIS – Reliability was expected to be a major story line in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil but it has taken until Lap 137 before the first Honda engine issue has hit, which came from pre-race concerns in that camp.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who led seven times for 28 laps in the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport, had his engine drop out on the backstraight as he went onto the apron into Turn 3.

It is the second straight year the 2014 winner has been sidelined short of a possible second win.

Hunter-Reay has diced with teammates Fernando Alonso and Alexander Rossi this race. At the time of his motor dropping out, he was running second to Alonso.

There were eight Honda engine failures this month prior to today, between the INDYCAR Grand Prix race, and Indianapolis 500 practice and qualifying.