More problems today for World Champs Red Bull

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Time may be running out for four-time reigning World Champions Red Bull, who suffered through more issues with their Renault-powered RB10 today during the start of the final F1 preseason test at Bahrain International Circuit.

Daniel Ricciardo had started things off today well enough with a total of 32 laps in the morning. But his afternoon session was marred by an exhaust problem on the car that sent the Australian into the paddock.

He wouldn’t return until late in the session, adding another seven laps for a total of 39 on the day. His fastest lap was a 1:37.908, good for seventh on the time sheets.

Afterwards, Ricciardo tried to keep positive despite the setback.

“The morning was much better for us with a few longer runs,” said Ricciardo. “Behind the wheel, that’s the best I’ve felt so far. The package seems to be coming together better. We still had a few issues today, but at least when the car was on track it was much more useful running and we made progress in the morning.

“It’s getting there. I’d love to keep going, but at least [Sebastian Vettel] has two days after me in the car, so I think we’ll be looking pretty good for the next three days.”

Team race engineering coordinator Andy Damerun said that the plan had been for Ricciardo to increase the length of his runs incrementally.

“We sent Daniel out for a long-ish run, but we had to abort about five laps in, as we noticed some issues on the sensors,” he said. “We brought him in, had a look at the car and discovered that we had a problem with the exhaust. So we had a long afternoon in the garage, but we did manage to get Daniel back out at the end of the session, which was good.

“We have some work to do overnight but hopefully tomorrow, we’ll able to run in a similar style to this morning.”

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.