Rosberg and Hamilton set to talk about Bahrain battle

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Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will sit down today and talk about some of their moves during the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago in order to clear the air.

During the race, both drivers duelled for the lead with some tough overtaking and defensive manoeuvres, but it largely remained fair. However, Rosberg did take exception to one of Hamilton’s defensive moves, and asked the team to tell him to calm down.

“That was the only example where I came on the radio and thought it was above the limits,” Rosberg explained to journalists in China. “It was the rate at which he was pushing me out, because if the rate is too fast I would struggle to avoid the accident.

“I found the rate a little bit over the limit.”

The German driver insisted that discussing a race between teammates was normal for teams, and that there were no signs of any tension between each side of the Mercedes garage ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

“It’s completely normal that as a team, when there are races where a lot has happened, you go and sit down and discuss,” he said. “That’s very important to move forward and we will do that today –  make sure that everyone discusses, knows there are different opinions and then review it to put it behind us.

“We then move on and push on full attack. It’s a very normal process that has to happen and is natural because you need to learn from what has happened in order to move forward stronger.”

Over the years, there have been a number of great inter-team rivalries when a championship is at stake. Given its dominance of the opening three rounds of the 2014 season, Mercedes looks poised to win both titles, meaning that there could be quite a tussle between Rosberg and Hamilton for the drivers’ championship.

The two drivers have known each other for years, and were teammates way back in go-karts. Now, their friendship could be tested, but so long as the racing is fair and clean, we could be set for a fantastic title race.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.