Verizon officially confirmed as IndyCar new title sponsor

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After weeks and months of speculation, INDYCAR has confirmed Verizon as new title sponsor of the IndyCar Series. Verizon now formally replaces IZOD, which departed at the end of the 2013 season.

A new multi-dimensional partnership linking sports, entertainment and technology beginning at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which kicks off the 18-race season March 30 (3 p.m. ET, check local listings).

“Verizon is delighted to become the title sponsor of the INDYCAR series and to bring even more of our innovative technology to the fans, to the teams and to the entire motorsports community,” Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless said in a series release.  “The intersection of racing and technology has never been more relevant, and our expanded partnership with INDYCAR provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate that synergy, integrate new services like LTE Multicast and help propel the sport forward.”

Added Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, head of INDYCAR’s parent company, “Verizon’s commitment to INDYCAR demonstrates its belief in the direction of our sport and further corroborates our long-term goals.”

The move is the latest enhancement to Verizon’s presence and stature within IndyCar.

Further details will follow in a teleconference later this morning.

Initially, Verizon entered IndyCar with Team Penske in 2009, as primary sponsor for Will Power for his part-time role. Power’s program was expanded into a full-time seat in 2010.

Some of the other areas of activation Verizon has gotten involved with is the Verizon P1 Award (pole position), the Verizon IndyCar mobile app, and with a presence on each car’s rear wheel guards (the latter began last year).

In some respects, this could have been seen to be coming with the gradual ramp-up in involvement Verizon has committed to IndyCar over the years.

For it to be formalized and confirmed, though, makes it more than just a perfect dream scenario: it makes it reality.

Here’s the new series logo below, and a link to a preview video below that.

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Ferrari, Mercedes launch 2018 F1 cars

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The title combatants from the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season both launched their 2018 challengers earlier on Thursday, with Scuderia Ferrari revealing the SF71H and Mercedes AMG Petronas revealing the W09.

For Ferrari, the SF71H represents an evolution of last year’s SF70H, which helped produce Ferrari’s best season in several years.

They presented a strong challenge to Mercedes for the championship, even leading the way at various points, with Sebastian Vettel recording five wins along the way. But, mechanical failures and crashes hampered their efforts late in the season, and they settled for second in the driver’s championship (with Vettel) and the constructor’s championship.

Entering 2018, the team is emphasizing the importance of building momentum with every race to ultimately secure their first constructor’s crown since 2008 and their first driver’s crown since 2007.

“There are no challenges actually. There are no challenges in the plural. There is just one challenge, which is the final challenge,” asserted team principal Maurizio Arrivabene. So that’s work that you build and you don’t build that work in one or two races. We’ve seen over the last few years, in the last championships, that you work race by race, and you always try to do the best you can.”

Technical director Mattia Binotto detailed some of the updates on the 2018 car, such as an new power unit and new suspension designs in anticipation of new tire constructions.

“We worked a lot on the power unit, we worked on its reliability and performance. We worked on the packaging, on suspensions in the rear axle because there will be new tires the following season, so we also tried to design the car to accommodate the new tires,” he explained.

Binotto added, “In regards to aerodynamics, we maintained our concept of having the inlets on the radiators, and everybody’s copying that, but we tried to make an additional step forward and what we showed today is not the same element of last year, but it is something more developed.”

Mercedes, meanwhile, will look to take it’s fifth consecutive driver’s and constructor’s championships with the W09. The team even took the car to the track for its launch, conducting a filming day at Silverstone Circuit.

“It is always a very exciting time because what has been designed is coming together and coming alive,”  team principal Toto Wolff said during the launch.

Despite facing challenges with last year’s car, the W08, the team elected to follow a similar design concept with the aerodynamics to improve on the car’s strengths while simultaneously addressing its weak points.

“We like some of the character traits from our diva,” Wolf quipped. “The W08 was the fastest car on the grid, scoring the highest number of pole positions and winning the most races last year. So we were careful not to lose the car’s many strengths just to overcome the difficulties.”

Both Ferrari and Mercedes are expected to slug it out again for the 2018 driver’s and constructor’s championships.

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