This wins the “best time to make a team departure announcement” with the just announced leadership change at Ferrari, where Stefano Domenicali is out as Ferrari team principal.
But Mercedes AMG will be making moves too. The team confirmed Monday that Bob Bell, team technical director, will leave at the end of the year. Executive technical director Paddy Lowe will take over Bell’s duties in what was called a “streamlining” of responsibilities.
Mercedes has gotten off to a near-perfect start in 2014, with three wins from the first Grands Prix and all bar 18 points achieved from the available maximum of 129 in the Constructor’s Championship.
SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.
SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.
Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.
The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.
SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.
Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.