Alonso: Lots to learn in the first few races

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Fernando Alonso is expecting the first few races of the 2014 Formula 1 season to be all about constant improvement and getting to know the new cars as the sport enters a brand new era.

A raft of technical and sporting changes to the sport – most notably downsizing from V8 engines to turbocharged V6 power unit – appears to have shaken up the pecking order. If testing is anything to go by, Red Bull’s dominant spell might come to an end next weekend in Australia, whilst Mercedes and Williams could be the teams leading the way.

However, Ferrari’s Alonso is cautious about making any predictions, but he believes that the first few races will be mainly about trial and error.

“We come to the start of this championship with the team having had twelve days of testing, while as a driver I’ve had six,” the Spaniard explained. “A few more days would have been useful given how much has changed for this season.

“With every lap of testing we learned something and improved pretty much constantly. I think that will still be the case in Australia, especially on the first day and then actually in the first few races.”

Having not won a world title with Ferrari since joining in 2010, Alonso may have his best chance yet this season thanks to the regulation changes. Throughout testing, Ferrari was the fastest team without a Mercedes engine, and the team’s qualifying pace appears to be particularly impressive. Quite whether this pace translates into the long-runs remains to be seen, though.

2014 is undoubtedly a year of change at Ferrari. Following Felipe Massa’s exit, Kimi Raikkonen has been signed, creating a very strong yet possibly volatile pairing with Alonso. For the first time since 1979, the team has two drivers on an equal footing both with a shot of winning the championship. It marks a big change in policy at Maranello, and it remains to be seen quite whether the team will get through 2014 without any war wounds.

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

NASCAR

INDYCAR