Chevrolet would welcome Cosworth back to IndyCar


Come on in, the more the merrier.

That appears to be the reaction from Chevrolet officials on the possibility that Cosworth may be returning to IndyCar.

Chevrolet IndyCar program manager Chris Berube told Autosport he believes Cosworth would be able to compete equally with Chevrolet and Honda, the only current engine suppliers to the IndyCar series.

“I don’t have any information one way or the other as to what Cosworth’s doing, but there’s no hiding the fact that we would welcome another manufacturer into the series,” Berube told Autosport. “The way the formula is in the series right now, I think they could be competitive.

“This is not a ‘He who spends the most money wins’ scenario. If they have the experience that their name suggests, I think the opportunity to be competitive is there.”

Cosworth CEO Hal Reisiger said earlier this year that his company is exploring both IndyCar and Formula One potential initiatives. Cosworth dominated the Indianapolis 500 from 1978 to 1996, winning 12 times, first with Al Unser in 1978 and most recently with Buddy Lazier in the CART-boycotted 1996 edition of the 500.

Although everything is still conceptual at this point, it’s likely Cosworth — if it decides to go forward — would likely have an engine program ready for the 2016 Indy 500 and then be a full IndyCar series supplier in 2017.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, who also oversees the IndyCar circuit, said the series has had discussions with Cosworth.

“I can confirm we did meet with Cosworth and it was productive,” he said. “We expect this dialogue to continue, but nothing formal has been agreed to or defined at this point.

“Unfortunately that’s all I can disclose at this moment, as the conversations are obviously still in the infancy stage.”

If IndyCar were to request and receive IndyCar approval to join the series as an engine manufacturer, it would need to align itself with an Original Engine Manufacturer (OEM), much like Chevy’s partnership with Ilmor.

The most likely prospect for Cosworth would likely be Ford, which it previously was associated with. Autosport said both sides have had preliminary discussions, as well as Cosworth talking to other OEMs.

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Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.