Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg is confident that the team is in good shape ahead of the new F1 season, which gets underway in just fourteen days’ time at the Australian Grand Prix.
The German driver, who returns to Force India in 2014 after a year away at Sauber, finished testing today in Bahrain in fourth place on the timesheets and 74 laps under his belt. Although he did not manage to complete a race simulation, Hulkenberg is pleased with the work that the team has completed across the winter period.
“The final day of testing went pretty well,” he explained. “In the end we didn’t do the race simulation, but we did some long runs and signed off a lot of other things on the job list. We didn’t do as many laps as yesterday, but we still made progress and learned some new things.
“It’s been two good days for me and I’m feeling pretty satisfied. You always want more time to prepare, but I think we’re in good shape. The car has come a long way since the first Jerez test and we have made progress every day.”
Like the other Mercedes-powered teams, Force India has excelled during the testing period. Sergio Perez finished as the quickest driver on the first two days of the final test in Bahrain, and with such a capable driver line-up in 2014, the team could be set to make a big step forwards and improve on sixth place in the championship last season.
The US-based Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship circuit has reportedly parked itself and the pending 2018 season. According to various reports including AutoWeek, AutoSport.com and Motorsport.com, the Red Bull-sponsored GRC has suspended operations.
MotorSportsTalk reached out to a GRC spokesman for comment and further details.
It appears that all GRC-related websites, including its home page, as well as the site to order tickets to races this season, are unavailable. The series’ Twitter account @GRCseries remains, but hasn’t tweeted since April 13.
New York’s Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway, which was to host the GRC’s season-opening event (the original Louisville opener in mid-May was cancelled), issued a statement on its Twitter account:
Several GRC teams said at the end of last season that they would not return to the series, including teams from Honda, Volkswagen and Subaru.
It is expected that the GRC Europe series will continue working on its 2019 campaign.
It’s unclear whether teams that are no longer with the GRC U.S. series will move to a new series backed by IMG known as “Americas Rallycross Championship.” The ARC is slated to kick off as part of next month’s World Rallycross event at Silverstone in Great Britain.
Other ARC events, also tied into WRC events, will be at Trois-Rivieres in Canada on August 4-5, and at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 29-30. A fourth event is still in the works.