Former open-wheelers James Calado and Sam Bird appear to be taking to the World Endurance Championship nicely after qualifying up the grid in their respective classes for tomorrow’s WEC season-opener at Silverstone.
Calado and Bird are with the same AF Corse Ferrari team, but the former is in the GTE-Pro while the latter is in GTE-Am. But both of them had a fine Saturday, with Calado and teammate Davide Rigon qualifying fourth in Pro and Bird, Stephen Wyatt, and Michele Rugalo earning pole in Am.
Calado, who finished third in GP2 last year, sounded pleased with his work and hailed teammates Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander for their GTE-Pro pole on Twitter.
So P4 in qualifying. Good result for our 1st qualifying session @rigondavide Great team effort with the 51 car on pole.12 kick off tomorrow
As for Bird, last year’s GP2 runner-up, he says he’s having fun with his “amazing opportunity” to run with AF Corse, which won last year’s WEC GTE-Pro title.
“[It’s been] really good fun, and I’m enjoying my racing in GTs,” Bird said to reporters today at Silverstone. “It’d be great to get on the podium. Obviously, the main thing is to make sure that Steve is fast as possible.
“If he can do a really good job then we’re gonna be within a shout of being on the podium if not winning the race. Hopefully, the conditions will suit us. If not, it might be a very tricky race.”
Bird and Rugalo topped the Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy, Christoffer Nygaard, and Paul Dalla Lana for GTE-Am pole by almost a full second.
Recent Formula 1 driver Jenson Button believes the sport should “move on” from Sebastian Vettel’s clash with Lewis Hamilton in Baku and hand the Ferrari driver no further punishment for his sideway swipe.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Button – who spent 17 seasons racing full-time in F1 and most recently made a one-off return in Monaco with McLaren – offered his view of the situation, saying that the sport’s bosses should move on and not give Vettel any further punishment.
Agree with you mate, if a driver at racing speed forces another driver off track he would get less punishment than a 10sec drive through https://t.co/SwZW1CAp9l
When professional athletes decide to experience sports outside of the one where they make their living, it never ceases to entertain. Case and point: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley.
The 24-year-old Hundley spent the weekend at Road America, taking in the Kohler Grand Prix. His time at the facility began on Thursday, where he first paid a visit to Team Penske driver Will Power, who gave him a quick tutorial.
The next part of Hundley’s day saw him take a two-seater ride with none other than Mario Andretti. And, unsurprisingly, it left a big impression.
“The first lap, I’m screaming, and it’s the warm-up lap! And then the second lap: I’m just bright-eyed, going through corners. I give so much respect, that’s an awesome sport, man!” Hundley said in a media debrief afterward.
However, the day was not finished. Later on, Hundley showed off his arm strength and throwing accuracy by attempting to throw a football through the passenger side window of a moving Chevrolet Corvette. And while it took a few attempts, he eventually hit his mark.
CEFC Manor TRS Racing has confirmed that Roberto Merhi will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship for next month’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring, replacing Jean-Eric Vergne.
Merhi previously raced for Manor in both Formula 1 and the WEC, making his most recent appearance with the British marque at last November’s 6 Hours of Bahrain.
Merhi’s last racing outing came in the Formula 2 double-header in Spain and has flirted with a move into Formula E, but was confirmed on Wednesday to be making his racing return at the Nürburgring on July 16.
Merhi will deputize for Vergne in the No. 24 Oreca 07 Gibson while the Frenchman is in New York for the city’s inaugural Formula E event.
Welcome back Roberto Merhi stepping into car 24 alongside Jonathan Hirschi and Tor Graves for one race at 6 Hours of Nurburgring. #WECpic.twitter.com/GSUvoeXUDK
The FIA has confirmed that it will re-examine the clash between Formula 1 title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix to see if further action is warranted.
Vettel and Hamilton made contact twice behind the safety car in Baku, with the second incident deemed to be an act of dangerous driving on Vettel’s part.
The FIA stewards in Baku handed Vettel a 10-second stop/go penalty for the clash – the harshest available penalty besides disqualification – but faced calls to issue a stricter punishment post race.
Hamilton said that the incident set a dangerous precedent for F1 and wider motorsport, but Vettel believed his rival deserved a penalty for allegedly brake testing him.
On Wednesday, the FIA confirmed that it would be re-examining the incident in a meeting on July 3, with a verdict set to be delivered ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.
“Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) was involved in a collision with Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), on Monday 3rd July, the FIA will further examine the causes on the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary,” a short statement from the FIA read.
“A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix (7-9 July).”