Rosberg: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya like home

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Formula 1 championship leader Nico Rosberg heads to next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix full of confidence given that the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona is one of his favorites.

The German driver has claimed one win and three second places so far this season, but the momentum lies with teammate Lewis Hamilton who has won the last three races. Nevertheless, Rosberg is hopeful that the upgrades that Mercedes will bring to the race can maintain and extend the advantage it enjoys over the other teams.

“The Spanish Grand Prix is the first race of the season on European soil after four exciting races at various circuits overseas,” he said. “This is where the next phase of the season begins and there is probably no other track in the world that I know as well as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

“I also have some good memories of race weekends in Barcelona. Last year, for example, I started from pole position so I’m looking forward to going back there again and maybe repeating that particular feat.”

Despite starting from pole last year, problems with tire wear meant that Rosberg quickly went backwards and eventually finished down in sixth place.

With the other teams also bringing major upgrade packages to the race, Rosberg is looking forward to finally gauging just how far ahead Mercedes is of the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari

“It’s also only now that we can slowly begin to get an idea of how the different cars stack up in terms of performance,” the German said. “Each team will have been pushing hard during the break since the last race to find some extra performance from new parts, so it will certainly be an interesting weekend and hopefully an exciting one for the fans too.”

Although we should have some answers as to which team could potentially overhaul Mercedes in 2014, Rosberg should perhaps be more interested in the competition on the other side of the garage as Hamilton chases a fourth straight win in Spain.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.