Vettel to meet with FIA president over engine comments

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Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel is set to meet with FIA president Jean Todt to discuss his comments about the new sound of the sport.

Following the downsize from V8 to turbocharged V6 engines in Formula 1, the sound of the sport has changed dramatically. Without their recognizable screeching noise, many have criticised the new cars and the formula being used, whilst others have praised it. Four-time champion Vettel is firmly in the ‘against’ camp, and did not mince his words when interviewed in Malaysia last week.

However, Todt has not taken kindly to the language that Vettel used when talking about the new engines, and is now set to meet with the German driver to discuss the comments that were made according to a report by Autosport.

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve was a very outspoken character throughout his F1 career, and was threatened with severe sanctions after making comments that appeared to bring the sport into disrepute. Although Todt is unlikely to be as heavy-handed with Vettel as predecessor Max Mosley was with Villeneuve, he will seek to clear the air and ensure that he refrains from using such language in the future.

Interestingly, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported last week that Todt could threaten to sanction Red Bull over these comments as an incentive to withdraw its appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion from the Australian Grand Prix.

When asked about meeting with Todt, Vettel insisted that it was merely routine. “It’s fairly normal to have a meeting after a couple of races,” he explained in Bahrain. “Mr. Todt is coming here, so it makes sense to use the opportunity to talk about many things.”

Although Vettel is not alone in disliking the new sound, it is best for such a global icon and ambassador of Formula 1 to consider the way in which he airs his opinion, and refrain from using profanities when speaking on the record.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.