Sutil: Way more to learn about the car, and the form book, for 2014

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Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, who shifts away from his familiar confines of Force India for 2014, has admitted he still has a lot to learn about his team’s new car and has no idea how the form book will shake out for the upcoming Formula One season.

“We work well together, that is for sure – but don’t forget it is only a bit over two months (that we’ve been working together) so the ‘getting to know’ phase is still going on,” the German admitted in a Q&A with the official F1 website.

“We had some issues with the power train and had to change the engine,” he said of the team’s most recent Bahrain test. “As this is a rather difficult and time consuming matter, it was not possible to go out any more. But at least now we know how long it requires to change an engine under time pressure.”

Give Sutil some points up front for honesty about the car’s situation, and additionally for his take on how the Australian Grand Prix will shake out. Like most everyone else, he has no idea.

“How would I know? It’s all in the flow,” he said. “It might turn out to be a fantastic race or a rather dull one with only a few cars finishing. Whatever people say or believe now, it very likely will turn out differently to what the so-called experts predict.”

Asked whether he thinks he feels prepared for Melbourne, Sutil replied, “No. But I would be surprised if anybody in the paddock would say that he is – I wouldn’t believe them! We will be learning something with every race. My prediction is that the whole season will be a game of trial and error.”

Sutil will enter his seventh F1 season with more time under his belt at Sauber than last year, when he returned to Force India after a year’s hiatus only a few weeks before Melbourne. Still, he’s under no illusions about the enormity of this year’s season, with all the new elements he and the rest of the grid will be dealing with.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”